Monday, August 30, 2004

Rowhani: Tehran says Iran-Iraq security interdependent

Description of Selected News: "Tehran says Iran-Iraq security interdependent


TEHRAN (MNA) - Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hasan Rowhani, assured Iraqi officials of Iran's resolve to join hands to establish security in Iraq, an SNSC press release said on Sunday.

In a meeting with the visiting Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh the Iranian security official said the security of Iran and Iraq are interdependent and that is why Iran will not withhold any help to provide security in that country.

Saleh who arrived here on Sunday is to pave the way for the Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s visit to Tehran.

Rowhani also added that the security in Iraq would affect the security in the region, adding that a swift withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq is essential for the Iraqi security.

Pointing to the Iran-Iraq security treaty of 1975, Rowhani said it was a valid basis for mutual border and security cooperation, and condemned the activities of "terrorist" groups.

Rowhani also pressed for the establishment of a democratically-elected government in Iraq. However, he said this would not be achieved in the absence of security and stability in Iraq.

Rowhani praised the role of the Shiite authorities in Iraq in ending fighting in the holy city of Najaf between Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Moqtada Sadr and U.S. and Iraqi government forces.

"Iraq's history shows the Shiite authority has always been an element for unity, stability, security and independence for Iraq, and a key player in linking other Muslim nations with Iraq," he said as carried by AFP.

"Undoubtedly, good relations between Tehran and Baghdad would both preserve the two countries' national interests and assure the region's stability and security as well," underscored the security official.

Saleh said on Sunday that he brought a message of friendship to Iran.

"I am carrying a message of friendship from the Iraqi government and nation for the Iranian government and nation," Saleh said.

President Mohammad Khatami told reporters on Saturday that Iran calls for close friendship and security in neighboring Iraq despite some unkind remarks by Iraqi officials.

Khatami also added that Iran was among the first countries in the region which recognized the Iraqi Governing Council and considers that formation of the Iraqi interim government as a stepping stone for establishing a democratic government in Iraq.

The Iraqi defense minister has accused Iran of interfering in Iraqi internal affairs, a charge rejected by Iranian officials.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi Lari also stressed the need for stability and security in Iraq and the region.

"The enemies are afraid of good ties and coexistence between Iran and Iraq," Lari told the Iraqi deputy prime minister.

The Iranian minister also said Tehran was ready to hold talks on adopting legal and official measures to regulate the movement of pilgrims between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi also asserted on Sunday that Iran has supported stability in Iraq.

"Any instability in Iraq has a direct effect on Iran. Stability and calm is in line with the Islamic republic of Iran interests," Kharrazi told Saleh.

"Good relations with Iraq is advantageous to Iran," Kharrazi further said.

Kharrazi also called for immediate release of Iranian pilgrims and businessmen held in Iraqi prisoners and due effort by Baghdad to help prepare the ground for the release of Iranian diplomat kidnapped on August 4 by a group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq.

Kharrazi criticized the U.S. "trial and error” policy in Iraq, saying that the policy has dearly cost Iraq and the region.

Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has called for establishing clear and frank relations between Baghdad and Tehran.

"We have to start building clear and frank relations based on not interfering in the two countries' internal affairs," Allawi said in an interview broadcast by Iraqi public television ahead of Saleh’s visit.
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