Iraq-Iran relations intertwined: Iraq’s Saleh

September 6, 2006 - 0:0
TEHRAN, Sept. 5 (MNA) – Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh said here on Tuesday that Iraq-Iran relations are intertwined and the two countries are determined to strengthen bilateral ties.

“Under the previous Iraqi dictatorship, there were some problems in relations with Iran, but the two countries currently enjoy satisfactory and cordial ties,” Saleh told a joint conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Manucher Mottaki.

He added that his visit is meant to boost mutual cooperation.

The stability of Iraq will benefit the international security and it is necessary for Iraq, Iran, and the United States to reach a regional compromise, he added.

“Iran, the regional countries, Iraq’s neighbors, the U.S. and the European countries can help establish stability in Iraq,” he said.

Asked about the number of Iranian prisoners in Iraqi jails, he said that a number of Iranians who had entered Iraq illegally are held in detention and the Iraqi officials are making efforts for their release.

Meanwhile, Mottaki said that Tehran considers Iraq’s development and security as its own. He dismissed rumors that Iran is interfering in Iraqi internal affairs, saying the two countries enjoy “intimate, brotherly, and neighborly relations.”

“The security of Iraq will benefit the entire region, therefore we will always stand beside the Iraqi nation and government as we did during the formation of the new government,” he stated.

He said the hidden hands that foment insecurity in Iraq must be stopped. He also called for a withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq.

The Iranian top diplomat reiterated that Tehran is ready to help Iraq in its efforts to establish peace and security.

The two countries are making efforts to step up trade exchanges and bolster economic, energy, oil, and railway cooperation, the minister noted.

He said that Iran is building a 140-megawat power plant in Iraq.

Mottaki also added that the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s visit to Iran is still on the agenda.