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Rowhani reiterates Iran's interest in close ties with Iraq

Tehran, July 12, IRNA -- Iran's National Security Council (NSC) secretary Hassan Rowhani reiterated Iran's interest in maintaining close ties and cooperation with the Iraqi nation as well as the present government in that country.

Rowhani made the remark during a meeting with the visiting head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Abdul Aziz Hakim, here Monday.

During the meeting, he pointed out that Iran was interested in maintaining close and brotherly relations with the Iraqi nation and favored a free, independent and prosperous Iraq with a popular government representing all classes in society.

He also said that Iran was willing to provide the necessary facilities for Iraq's private and public sector to flourish in trade and other areas and also facilitate visits of pilgrims from either side.

Rowhani went on to stress that Iraq will never be truly independent and sovereign unless and until all foreign occupiers leave the country, adding that the Iraqi nation had sufficiently proven during the occupation period that they cannot be cowered by alien forces.

He pointed to the holding of free and fair elections, rewriting of the country's constitution by the true representatives of the nation, measures to defend Iraq's territorial integrity and good neighborly ties as the basic requirements to ensure stability and security in the country.

The INSC secretary dismissed talks of possible changes in geographical borders, saying these would only serve to fuel instability in the region.

He said he believes the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds should instead exercise vigilance in the defense of their country's territorial integrity in order to remove any pretext for occupiers to continue staying in the country.

He said it was important that elections be held in the country as soon as possible as any delay would serve to distance the ordinary Iraqi people from those who would lead the country.

Hakim further said that close relations between Iran and Iraq would be in their mutual interest, and called for all-out efforts to expand ties.

Briefing Rowhani on the latest developments in Iraq, he said security was the most urgent need of the people today.

... Payvand News - 7/12/04 ... --

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