IranIraqMiddle East

Barham Salih: Iraq Needs Ties with Iran, Kurds Want Powerful Iraq

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Deputy Head of Iraq’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Barham Salih underlined the necessity for consolidating relations between Tehran and Baghdad, and said Kurds don’t benefit from a weak Iraq.
“Some people imagine that a weak Iraq will benefit the Kurds but this thought is incorrect. The Kurdish nation needs a secure and stable Iraq,” Salih said in an interview with a Kurdish TV channel on Tuesday.

“Kurds shouldn’t just rely on Turkey, but they should pay attention to the other regional forces and it is important for us to have friendly relations with them. Relations with Turkey are not enough and we strongly need to strengthen ties with Iran.”

“We cannot ignore Iran’s important role in the region. The regional equations have changed and naturally, this will change the internal equations of the country,” Salih said.

Iran and Iraq have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during the 2003 US invasion of the Muslim country.

Early December, top Iranian and Iraqi officials, in a joint news conference in Tehran, stressed the need for the further expansion of mutual cooperation in economic fields.

During the news conference, the Iranian First Vice- President Eshaq Jahangiri and former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki reiterated the necessity for increasing exchange of visits between the two countries’ businessmen and trade officials in a bid to further consolidate Iran-Iraq economic ties.

The Iranian first vice-president reiterated that enhancement of bilateral ties tops the agenda of both Tehran and Baghdad, and said “the agreements between Tehran and Baghdad have provided proper opportunities for Iranian businessmen to play a bigger role in the gas and housing industries and other sectors in Iraq”.

The Iraqi prime minister, pointed to his meeting with the Iranian first vice-president, and said, “We agreed to have extensive activities and we also agreed on establishing different ways for conducting (joint) economic activities.”

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