Iraq’s ambassador to Tehran says Iran’s contribution to Baghdad’s fight against terrorism has crucially helped the Arab country preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
“Had the Popular Mobilization forces and the Iraqi army and the Islamic Republic’s support not existed, Iraq would have fallen by now,” Rajeh Saber Abboud al-Mousavi said in an interview with IRNA, the agency reported on Saturday.
Iran has been providing advisory military support to Iraq’s battle against the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh, which has been ravaging the country since June 2014.
“When Iran helped and Tikrit was liberated, the city was left to its residents, and there were no ethnically-charged aspects [to the Islamic Republic’s support],” the ambassador said, referring to the March 2015 liberation of Tikrit — the birthplace of Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein and a hotbed of Daesh activity prior to the liberation.
“Iran’s presence in Iraq has entirely been based on the Iraqi government’s demand and is of an advisory nature,” Mousavi said.
He said Iraq and Iran have “strategic relations.”
“The countries form each other’s strategic depths and are both after stability and calm in the region,” he said, adding, “Should Iraq fall, so will every country in the region, and there will be chaos in all those countries.”
Mousavi further censured foreign intervention in Iraq in the name of fighting terrorism. “Leave us. You cannot be our leaders. The era of colonialism has ended and countries want to take their respective state affairs into their own hands.”
A US-led coalition, including some Arab countries, has been conducting airstrikes against purported Daesh positions in Iraq.
In his interview, the Iraqi ambassador to Iran also censured Western support for the terrorist anti-Iran Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), some of whose members are based at a former US camp in Iraq.
“When the Iraqi people rose up against Saddam’s regime, they (the MKO members) helped him annihilate these people and they killed hundreds of thousands of people under the pretext that they had rioted against the establishment.”
The MKO widely supported Saddam in his brutal crackdown on opponents. The terror group also sided with Saddam during his 1980-1988 war on Iran. Iraqi leaders have long asked MKO remnants to leave the Arab country but a complete eviction of the terrorists has been hampered by US and European support for the group.