velayati

TEHRAN, Feb. 18 (MNA) – Senior Adviser to Iranian Leader Ali Akbar Velayati emphasized that the strategic relations between Iran and Iraq determine the future of the Middle East.

Following his meeting with Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Humam al-Hamoudi and head of the Badr Organization Hadi al-Amiri, Velayati emphasized that the strategic relations between the two countries determine the future of the Middle East.

He added that the fates of the two countries are inseparably intertwined and, accordingly, Iran will never cease efforts toward promoting the mutual ties.

Velayati stressed that defending Iraq is equal to defending Iran and vice versa, and is true the other way around.

He expressed hope for further development of cooperation and relations between the two neighboring countries.

Humam al-Hamoudi, for his part, told reporters that "the presence of foreign forces in Iraq is only decided by the Iraqi parliament."

He added "the presence of these forces in Iraq is not acceptable and has been discussed in Parliament and will be decided soon."

He also emphasized that regional problems must be settled by locals themselves and that foreign forces only tend to aggravate the problems.

Humam al-Hamoudi added that the victory over ISIL was realized thanks to sacrifices made by Iraqis themselves and fighting ISIL must not be used as an excuse for presence of foreign forces. He referred to recent claims made by some American officials who ignored Iraqis wishes and insisted on continued presence of American forces.

Both Humam al-Hamoudi and Hadi al-Amiri emphasized that Iraq and Iran hold similar views regarding the presence of foreign forces.

Hadi al-Amiri pointed out the concerns over fighting terrorism in the region, saying "although ISIL has been militarily defeated, the cooperation between regional countries are still necessary in order to eradicate ISIL ideology."

Velayati is to attend the inauguration of Islamic Unity Conference in Baghdad and has met with senior religious leaders, state officials, and political leaders over the last two days.

MM/IRN82835339                                                                

News Code 132246

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