Continuing an important diplomatic tour of the Middle East, Iran’s Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani devoted Friday to a high-profile meeting with Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani.
Tehran has been promoting its backing of the Iraqi Government against this year’s offensive of the Islamic State, not only to bolster the fight against the jihadists but to counter US intervention in the country.
Iraqi Kurdistan is a key player between the Iran and the US, working with both countries to reinforce its own campaign against the Islamic State and assertion of autonomy.
The Iranian media hails Barzani’s statement at the photo opportunity with Larijani: “Iran stood by the Iraqi government and nation in a difficult situation when the ISIL terrorist group was threatening [Iraqi Kurdistan capital] Erbil and Baghdad, and this measure is worthy of appreciation.”
Larijani linked his trip to Erbil with his wider regional tour, calling on all countries to “feel responsible” about the serious situation presented by the Islamic State, the US, Israel, and crises such as the Syrian conflict.
Before meeting Barzani, Larijani had discussions with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, former Iraqi Speaker of Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, and other Kurdish leaders.
The Speaker started his tour on Sunday with a visit to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and discussions in Lebanon and with Palestinian groups.
Fars News, the outlet of the Revolutionary Guards, bluntly set out the PR line of the mission as Larijani returned to Tehran this morning:
The main point regarding Larijani’s official tour is that this is not the first time – and certainly not the last time – that Iran, Syria and Iraq have explicitly backed each other in the fight against a foreign-backed pseudo-caliphate. So no matter how much pressure the United States and its allies would put on Iran, and no matter how bloody the war against ISIL would be, the three regional allies will continue to stand by each other.