The objectives of Shamkhani's trip to Iraq
Iran's Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani met with the Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih Fayyadh on Sunday in Baghdad stating the importance of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Iran Press/ commentary: Iran and Iraq are two neighboring countries and enjoy the most joint borders. Since the fall of the Ba'athist regime in Iraq in 2003, the level of cooperation, consultation, participation and assistance between the Iranian and Iraqi governments and nations in the various economic, political, social, and health fields has been increasing day by day.
Iran's Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani's trip to Iraq is an important one. The trip came in a time when many diplomatic trips and visits around the world canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Iran and Iraq are also two countries in the West Asian region, with large numbers of citizens infected with the coronavirus. However, making such a trip under such circumstances indicates the importance the two countries dedicate to bilateral relations.
Shmakhani's trip to Iraq is the first one by an Iranian official after the US' assassination of Lieutenant General Soleimani near Baghdad's airport.
On January 3, 2020, the US Government, in a criminal act assassinated Lt. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), along with Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the deputy chief of Iraqi Popular Mobilized Units (PMU) and a number of his companions.
Iran's SNSC secretary's trip to Iraq came as Prime Minister Mohammad Tawfiq Allawi resigned to form an Iraqi cabinet, and the country is still facing political deadlock.
Emphasizing the sovereignty of Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always stressed that the foreign actors must not intervene in the internal affairs of the country, including in the process of nominating the prime minister and forming a new cabinet.
It seems that in Shamkhani's meeting with the Iraqi officials, the nomination of a new prime minister, as well as the formation of a new cabinet, is one of the issues to be discussed in the upcoming dialogues. Therefore, prior to his trip to Baghdad, Ali Shamkhani had said he would discuss with Iraqi officials and political leaders of all Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities about the political and security conditions and development ties.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has always called for the formation of a strong and stable government in Iraq and considers a strong government presence in Iraq as one that can serve its interests and security.
Whenever Iraq needed the support and cooperation of Iran, Tehran did not hesitate to provide any assistance.
One of the most significant manifestations of Iran's cooperation with Iraq was the fight against ISIS terrorist group. ISIS entered Iraq in June 2014 and took over a third of its geography.
And at the request of the Iraqi government, the Islamic Republic of Iran provided significant aid to Iraq in the fight against ISIS.
Martyred Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani, along with a large number of Iranian forces, had been active in the operation field against ISIS.
In this regard, Falih al-Fayyadh stressed in a meeting with Shamkhani: "The Iraqi people and the Iraqi government will not forget Iran's assistance in the fight against ISIS."
Iran now considers cooperation with Baghdad as the priority for now that Iraq is once again threatened with terrorism, an issue highlighted in a meeting of Shamkhani with the Iraqi Intelligence Service Chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
It seems that the presence of US troops in Iraq to be one of the topics of discussion between Shamkhani and Iraqi officials.
Following the US assassination of Lt. Gen. Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis on Iraqi soil, the expulsion of US troops from Iraq has become one of the most important demands of large numbers of Iraqi people and groups and consequently, the Iraqi parliament also approved the bill to expel the US troops.
During a meeting with Falih al-Fayyadh, Shamkhani appreciated the Iraqi government, parliament and nation's action in expelling the US troops.
Autor: Seyyed Razi Emadi