Jan 17, 2019 16:02 Asia/Tehran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in reaction to US Secretary of States' remarks in Iraq said, long before US came into existence, Iran and Iraq had friendly relations and this good neighbourly relations are set to continue.

Iran Press/Middle East:  Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after a joint business forum in the Iraqi city of Najaf on Thursday morning addressed reporters and said: "Iran-Iraq relations as neighbours has nothing to do with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and it is none of his business."

Mohammad Javad Zarif added: "US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo does not have the right to interfere in relations between Tehran and Baghdad." 

Zarif said Tehran-Baghdad ties are not superficial, while talking to reporters after a meeting in the Iraqi city of Najaf with the participation of top Iranian and Iraqi businessmen, industrialists, politicians and economic experts.

“Iran and Iraq had a relationship [even] before the existence of the United States,” said Zarif, adding Iran’s cooperation with Iraq will continue.

On 9 Jan 2019, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking in the Jordanian capital Amman said the United States is redoubling its diplomatic and commercial efforts to counter Tehran's influence in the region.

One day after Pompeo's remarks, Zarif responded by saying: Pompeo's claim that "when America retreats, chaos often follows," is simply untrue. Actually the opposite is the case.

Top officials from Iran and Iraq held talks on Thursday 11 Jan 2019 on ways to boost cooperation between the two neighbouring countries, just one day after a surprise visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Iraq, which was supposed to convince Baghdad to restrict its ties with Tehran.

Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh on Thursday met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, whose office said he "confirmed the deep relations between the two countries, the two neighbouring people and the importance of strengthening them in areas that serve the interests of the two people, foremost of which is cooperation in the fields of oil and gas."

Zarif on controversial Trump visit to Baghdad on 27 Dec 2018 which lasted about three hours referred to his travel to the Iraqi cities which started on January 13, and said 'We are brothers,' and his visit to Iraq which as he noted has been the longest he paid to a country indicated the two nations' willingness to have special relations.

Regarding his visit to Iraq, Zarif told reporters "The trip which took 5 days was my longest trip to this country; it was great and I held good meetings and talks with Iraqi officials."

Zarif arrived in Iraq on Sunday holding a number of meetings with senior Iraqi officials in Baghdad, Sulaymanieh, Erbil, Karbala, and Najaf. He is scheduled to wrap up his 5-day stay in the Arab country later today.

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