“The US claimed that it seeks to fight Daesh and formed a coalition for the [declared goal], but we have [only] witnessed the strengthening of Daesh in terms of weapons, logistics, intelligence, and other aspects,” Raeisi said in a meeting with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Baghdad on Wednesday.
“While Iraq, Syria, Iran and regional countries are working together to eliminate the remnants of Daesh, the Americans do nothing but relocate the Daesh terrorists in the region,” the Iranian official added.
Raeisi praised the joint Iran-Iraq battle against the Takfiri outfit as a “real symbol of solidarity and cooperation between the two nations.”
Elsewhere, the official stressed the importance of speeding up investigations into the case of the assassination of senior Iranian and Iraqi anti-terror commanders, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in Baghdad early last year, and said they were “heroes of the fight against terrorism” who were martyred after the US violated Iraq’s sovereignty.
The commanders had amassed regionwide popular appeal due to their effective contribution to the defeat of Daesh.
After withdrawing from Iraq in 2011, the US military returned to the Arab country under the pretext of fighting terrorism three years later, when Daesh emerged in Iraq. Besides its unilateral military activities, it also formed a so-called anti-Daesh coalition with a number of its allies in 2014.
However, not only did the US-led coalition do so little on the ground to fight Daesh, but it even faced accusations of trying to prop up the terror group.
Backed by Iran, the Iraqi national army and allied Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) eventually managed to liberate the Arab country from Daesh in 2017, but the US forces continue to stay in Iraq, despite calls by the parliament in Baghdad and the Iraqi public for them to leave.
The atrocities that were ensued by thousands-strong funeral processions and protest rallies in Iraq have heightened the anti-American sentiment among the Arab nation against continued military intervention there by the US and its allies.
Elsewhere in his meeting with the Iraqi president, Raeisi said Tehran and Baghdad have been bolstering their relations in various political, economic and cultural fields against the will of enemies given the strong bonds between the two nations, which are rooted in their rich civilizations and beliefs.
“Enemies have always made attempts to sow discord between Iran and Iraq, but the two countries’ cooperation has thwarted such attempts,” he added.
He also called for the facilitation of pilgrimage trips for Iraqi and Iranian nationals and said dropping visa requirements would play a role in this regard.
Raeisi’s visit important message to Iraq, region: Salih
For his part, Salih said the Iranian judiciary chief’s visit to Baghdad conveyed an important message to Iraq and the entire region in different aspects.
The Iraqi president added that the two countries are promoting close cooperation and have succeeded in making great achievements in this regard.
He called for joint efforts to strengthen Iraq’s national sovereignty, saying a weak Iraq would turn into a scene of differences and chaos.
Salih said regional countries have a responsibility to work toward easing tensions, adding there was a need to coordinate efforts for promoting regional peace and stability based on constructive dialogue.