Tehran says to press ahead with advisory role in Iraq, Syria

July 10, 2016 - 21:6

TEHRAN – Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's National Security Council, said on Sunday that Tehran will press ahead with playing its advisory part in Iraq and Syria to contain terrorism fully.

“Iran continues to reach out to the Syrian and Iraqi governments and play it advisory role until terrorist groups are no longer a threat to the region,” said Shamkhani in an appearance with Ammar al-Hakim, the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, (ISCI) in Tehran.

Iraq has been caught in a web of extremism and terrorism since 2003; however, the violence got worse with the emergence of the self-styled Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also called Daesh in its Arabic acronym.

For example, Iraq suffered one of its most devastating attacks to date recently when Daesh struck a busy district in Baghdad and killed about 300 people.

'Local capacity to wipe off Daesh’

Referring to the recent developments in Iraq, Shamkhani also said Daesh can be wiped off the Iraqi territory through domestic capacity in the quickest time possible.

Shamkhani’s remarks are a clear reference to the conspicuous participation of public mobilization forces, or Hashid Shaabi as the militias are collectively known, in retaking Fallujah.

Some regional counties, led by Saudis Arabia, are angry over Iran’s help to Iraq in its fight against Daesh. Iran has said it is helping Iraq upon formal requests by the Iraqi government.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a high-ranking commander of the Popular Mobilization Units told the Press TV in June that Iranian military advisors were helping Iraqi army and allied forces in the fight against Daesh upon an official request from the Baghdad government.

“The U.S. did not provide any assistance. The Islamic Republic of Iran was quick enough to respond to our demand, and dispatched Major General Qasem Soleimani to Iraq,” al-Muhandis told the TV.

Shamkhani says Iran continues to reach out to the Syrian and Iraqi governments and play it advisory role until terrorist groups are no longer a threat to the region.

General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, said in May that Iran would do what it takes to counter terrorism in Iraq as much as requested by Iraqi officials.

“If Iran had not resisted the Takfiri attack, the Daesh would have formed a government in Syria by now,” Soleimani said.

Even U.S. officials have acknowledged the positive role being played by Iran in Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised the role Iran plays in the fight against Daesh in Iraq, calling it “helpful,” in an address at the Aspen Ideas Festival in the U.S. state of Colorado.

“Look, we have challenges with Iran as everybody knows and we are working on those challenges,” Kerry was quoted as saying by CNN. “But I can tell you that Iran in Iraq has been in certain ways helpful, and they clearly are focused on ISIL-Daesh, and so we have a common interest, actually.”

AK/PA

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