Hatami made the remarks during a meeting with commanders of the Iraqi Army’s Aviation unit, Navy and Air Defense in Tehran on Thursday.
He stressed that the threats posed to both Iran and Iraq necessitate closer Tehran-Baghdad interactions in order to safeguard the interests of the two nations and bring them economic prosperity and provide regional security and stability.
“The blood of the faithful, committed and patriotic Iranian and Iraqi youths guarantees the stability and security of both countries,” Hatami said, adding that Iraq could have been disintegrated by “ill-wishers and enemies of the peace” had it not been for Iran’s support.
Hatami further emphasized that both Tehran and Baghdad are resolved to develop their bonds.
In 2014, when Daesh unleashed its campaign of terror in Iraq, Iranian military advisers rushed to the aid of Iraqi Armed Forces on Baghdad’s request, helping them reverse Daesh’s gains and ultimately liberate their entire homeland from the Takfiri terrorist group some three years later.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian defense minister described the blacklisting of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) by the US as “an act of revenge” for the elite military force’s counter-terrorism measures in Iraq and Syria, adding that the ban was meant to prevent the political stabilization process in the two war-torn countries.
The Iraqi commanders, for their part, underlined the need for reinforcing bilateral military ties based on the principle of good neighborliness.
On April 8, the White House labeled Iran “a State Sponsor of Terrorism” and the IRGC a “foreign terrorist organization,” claiming that the elite force “actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”
In response, the Iranian parliament overwhelmingly passed a law, which designates American forces in West Asia – known as the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) – a terrorist organization.
Iraqi resistance groups condemn US blacklisting of IRGCIraqi groups, which actively cooperated with the national army in its counter-terrorism operations, have supported Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in the face of US hostility.
Iraqi resistance groups have rejected Washington’s move to target the IRGC and expressed their solidarity with the Iranian force.
Visiting the residence of the Iranian consul general in the holy city of Najaf on April 13, representatives of the Iraqi resistance groups highlighted the IRGC’s contribution to Iraqi forces’ years-long anti-terror drive and commended its role in preventing several Iraqi states from falling into the hands of Daesh.