Zarif delivers message to Saudi Arabia from Baghdad: report

July 19, 2020 - 19:12

TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reportedly delivered a message from Iran to the Persian Gulf states while visiting Iraq on Sunday, according to a report published by an Iraqi news agency. 

"The visit [by Zarif to Iraq] aims to deliver a message to [Persian] Gulf states, specifically Saudi Arabia, that Tehran is ready to reach understandings with Iraqi mediation. Iraq has the potential to play this role and it is not in Iraq’s interest to be with any axis against another axis," Ghadhanfar al-Batteekh, the leader of al-Fath parliamentary bloc told Shafaq News on Sunday, hours after Iran’s top diplomat arrived in Baghdad.

During his one-day visit to Iraq, Zarif held talks with several senior Iraqi officials including Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, President Barham Salih, chief of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Falih al-Fayadh, head of Judiciary Faegh Zeidan and Hadi al-Ameri, the head of the Badr organization.

Al-Batteekh also claimed that “Zarif's visit to Baghdad aims to emphasize and strengthen Iranian-Iraqi relations and assuage apprehensions that the Iraqi prime minister is distancing himself from Iran, after he assumed the office."

Upon his arrival in Baghdad, Zarif told reporters that he planned to discuss with the Iraqi officials a variety of issues including the U.S. crimes in the region and the assassination of top Iranian military commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by an American drone strike near Baghdad’s international airport on January 3, 2020.  

“Zarif's visit to Baghdad came to follow up the case of the assassination of the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani", added the leader of al-Fath Alliance.

Accompanied by Iranian ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi and several Iraqi officials, Zarif also paid homage to General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes by visiting the location where they were assassinated in early January. Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes was the former deputy head of the PMF whose assassination by the U.S. sparked outrage across Iraq and Iran.