PHOTO: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari on Monday (Anadolu Agency)
In its first diplomatic offensive since the July 14 nuclear deal with the 5+1 Powers, Iran has played up its alliance with the Iraqi Government and its role in “Middle Eastern security”.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Iraq on Monday, including talks in the holy city of Najaf and the capital Baghdad.
At a press conference with Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Zarif said:
We may have different opinions regarding developments in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, but we stress that the security of each and every country in the region is like our own security and we will work to boost this collective security.
The Foreign Minister emphasized Iran’s place in the fight against the Islamic State, declaring, “The Iranian government and nation will stand beside Iraq in the war against terrorism.”
Tehran has provided significant military support for Baghdad since the Islamic State took much of northern and eastern Iraq in spring and summer 2014, including provision of commanders and heavy weapons and backing of Shia militia alongside Iraqi armed forces.
At the same time, the Supreme Leader has vetoed the Rouhani Government’s proposal of cooperation with the US, which began aerial operations against the Islamic State in August 2014.
Zarif said of the successful conclusion of the talks over Iran’s nuclear program, “Now we can address our principal priority which is cooperation with neighboring and regional countries.”
The Foreign Minister has also visited Kuwait and Qatar on his tour.
Meanwhile, Fars News, the outlet of the Revolutionary Guards, has continued anti-American propaganda over Iraq by renewing the claim that the US — despite its bombing of Islamic State positions — is actually working with the militants in the west of the country.
The website, citing “Iraqi intelligence sources”, says an American helicopter “landed in areas under the control of the ISIL terrorist group…and flew away to an unknown destination with several ISIL commanders”.
Ahmadinejad Files Complaint Against Rouhani’s 1st Vice President
The lawyer for former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has lodged an official complaint against 1st Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri for “defamation and the publication of lies”.
Ahmadinejad’s lawyer claimed that Eshaq Jahangiri “in recent years has taken measures to propagate baseless assertions against the previous government with the goal of destroying the people’s trust”.
President Rouhani’s office responded that it will welcome the complaint in court to highlight the former President’s “mismanagement”.
(h/t Iran Tracker)