Top Military Commander: Iran Ready for Military Cooperation with Iraq

12/26/2011 09:51

FarsNews: TEHRAN (FNA)- Chief of Staff of Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi voiced Tehran's preparedness to expand cooperation with Iraq in the fields of defense and security.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to establish, boost and expand all types of military, defense and security cooperation with the friendly and brotherly nation of Iraq, Firouzabadi said in two separate messages to Iraqi Chief of Staff General Babakr Zibari and Iraqi Acting Defense Minister Saadon al-Dulaymi to felicitate the Iraqi nation on the withdrawal of the US troops from the country.

The Iranian commander said that the US withdrawal was the result of the determination, resolve and resistance of the Iraqi nation and government.

Iran and Iraq have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, in 2003. Both sides are working on a series of plans to take wide strides in expanding their ties.

Last month, Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari and Chief of Staff of Iraqi Armed Forces General Babak Zebari discussed ways of bolstering military "cooperation" in a number of fields, including border issues, security, training, joint maneuver and exchange of experience.

At the meeting, the two sides discussed military cooperation along the two countries' shared borderline as well as cooperation in other defense fields.

Following the meeting, Major General Jafari told reporters that the two countries' can have "the greatest military and defense cooperation due to the long shared border".

"We can have great cooperation against the common enemies of Iran and Iraq in the region and outside the region," he added.

"This cooperation can be in the fields of security, training, joint maneuver and sharing experiences," he said.

Jafari said that the IRGC and Iraq's top military official had signed several memoranda of understanding (MoUs).

"God willing, they will bear fruit in the next visits," he said without elaborating.

Zebari said that his country could learn from Iran to monitor its porous borders.

"We have a long borders with Iran and some problems exists which can be solved with common cooperation. We can use Iran's expertise in solving such problems," he said.

The visit came as the US forces were preparing to leave Iraq and after the US failed to persuade Baghdad to accept an extension of the US forces military presence for a post-2011 training mission.

Zebari had also earlier met with IRGC Ground Force Commander General Mohammad Pakpour, where the two discussed expansion of ties and cooperation.

At the meeting in mid November, the Iranian general voiced pleasure in the Iraqi delegation's visit to Tehran, and hoped that the trip would pave the way for the further deepening and consolidation of mutual cooperation between the two sides in various fields.

He also expressed pleasure in the US withdrawal from Iraq, saying that the pullout of the alien troops means that Iraq's people and forces can now control their country by themselves.

The general expressed the hope that Iraq and its armed forces could gain increasing success after the end of the 8-year-long occupation which he described as a hard and cumbersome era for the Iraqis.

The IRGC Ground Force commander further noted the profound political and cultural commonalities of Iran and Iraq as two Muslim and friendly neighboring nations, and stressed, "We hope that the existing commonalities pave the ground for cooperation, coordination and expansion of all-out relations."

He said certain "secret streams sought to create a gap between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the government and people of Iraq during the last few years, but Iran's deep and abundant commonalties with Iraq made all these plots fall flat".

The Iraqi general, for his part, said he and the high-ranking delegation accompanying him are in Tehran to expand ties and cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

"Given the fact that Iran and Iraq are two friendly and neighboring countries, they should have very intimate relations," he reiterated.

General Zebari voiced satisfaction with the security conditions in his country, but stated that Iraq is facing many challenges and "we hope that Iraqi military forces will be able to overcome these challenges".

"Since the Islamic Republic of Iran is a powerful country in many fields, we decided to meet with the IRGC Ground Force Commander in a bid to exchange views and discuss expansion of mutual cooperation between the two sides," the Iraqi military's Chief of Staff reiterated.


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