TEHRAN: The strategic ties between Iran and Iraq will help guarantee the security and stability of the entire region, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.
"The stability, independence, and territorial integrity of Iraq are of special importance for Iran, and we consider the security of Iraq and Iran are interrelated," Rouhani made the remarks in a telephone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on the occasion of celebrating the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.
Lauding the high-level Iran-Iraq cooperation in economic and trade areas, Rouhani stressed the need to implement agreements reached between the two sides, including the Shalamcheh-Basra railway project, which links the southern regions of both countries.
The Iranian leader also criticized the "double game" of the United States in dealing with terrorism.
"These days, we are witnessing the complicated game of the Americans in Iraq. And it is natural that these policies will not help security and stability in Iraq, but will further complicate the situation," he noted.
"The Americans have always played a destructive role in the region," he said, adding that Iran is opposed to any foreign interference in regional affairs. "Regional issues should be resolved by the regional countries," the Iranian President stressed in the telephone conversation.
For his part, al-Kadhimi said that bilateral, regional and international cooperation between Baghdad and Tehran have improved over the past eight years during Rouhani's presidency.
He also expressed the hope that the railway project connecting the two countries, which has been halted for years, could become operational as soon as possible.
Al-Kadhimi also thanked the Iranian government for supporting Iraq in the fight against terrorist groups as well as defending peace and stability in the country.