Source: Press TV
Iran and Iraq have started out joint military maneuvers in the Islamic Republic's west and northwest to practice providing security for their common borders. The drills, codenamed Eqtedar (Authority), recruit armored, artillery, and infantry units of the Iranian Army, the drone and helicopter squadrons of the Ground Forces of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), as well as some units enlisted with the Iraqi Army, ISNA reported on Monday.
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The exercises span the borders of Iran's West Azarbaijan and Kordestan
Speaking on the sidelines of the drills, the IRGC's Ground Forces Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said, "Facing common enemies, Iran and Iraq consider ensuring the security of their long borders against threats to be a perpetual and common necessity."
Pakpour said that during the exercises, the integration of the popular, military, and security intelligence nexuses was being drilled.
Iraq's central government has said it would seek the assistance of Iran and
Turkey to secure its borders. It made the announcement after its northern
Kurdistan region held an unconstitutional referendum to break away from the Arab
country last Monday and local Kurdistan authorities refused to cede the control
of border crossings and airports to Baghdad as they had been ordered.
The Iraqi military also held a joint drill with Turkish troops on their borders last week.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has stressed the need to bolster central governments in Syria and Iraq, saying that any change in geographical borders will cause insecurity and instability to spread across the region. Rouhani made the remarks in a meeting with Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar in Tehran on Monday.
Stressing the necessity of strengthening the central governments in Syria and
Iraq in order to maintain the two countries' territorial integrity, facilitate
the war on terror and prevent alterations in geographical borders, Rouhani said,
"Any change in geographical borders will cause insecurity and instability to
spread throughout the region."
He added that fighting terrorism and safeguarding geographical borders in the region were the most important goals that Iran and Turkey sought to achieve through development of cooperation and bilateral relations.
The Iranian chief executive emphasized that Iran and Turkey, as two important countries and the pillars of stability in the region, could play an influential role in resolving regional issues if they stood by each other.
Mentioning terrorism, insecurity and instability as common threats facing Iran and Turkey in the region, Rouhani said, "To do away with these threats and in line with the common interests [of the two countries], all-out relations and cooperation must further develop between Tehran and Ankara."
"The armed forces of Iran and Turkey can establish constructive relations in order to repel regional threats through further expansion of cooperation and exchange of experience," Rouhani pointed out.
For his part, the Turkish chief of general staff said his country respected
territorial integrity of all regional countries, including Syria and Iraq, and
expressed Ankara's readiness to develop cooperation with Iran in the fight
Akar arrived in Tehran late Sunday at the invitation of Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri, who visited Ankara in mid-August, the first by an Iranian chief of staff since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The Turkish military official's trip is taking place ahead of a scheduled visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Iran.
Earlier on Monday, Akar held separate meetings with his Iranian counterpart and Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.
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