MOSCOW, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pledged Tehran’s support to Bagdad, as he met with Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider Abadi on Sunday in the Iraqi capital and discussed the need for a global push against the Islamic State (IS) militants.
“Iran stands by all Iraqi people and is a friend of all political groups,” Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) quoted Zarif as saying.
According to IRNA, Zarif said that Iran attached strategic importance to ties with neighboring Iraq and expressed hopes that Tehran-Baghdad relations will keep growing under Iraqi new government.
He added that Iran regards Iraq’s security as its own and called on all Iraqis to unite in the face of the IS danger.
Zarif also met his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari with the outgoing Prime Minister Nouri Maliki who called for tighter ties between Iraq and Iran.
“The Iraqi government expects the Islamic Republic of Iran to continue with all previous projects under the new Iraqi administration,” Maliki said.
Zarif appreciated the significant role of Maliki in maintaining the Iraqi security and safeguard the Iraqi national sovereignty.
Iraq is fighting against the Islamic State militants who launched a large-scale offensive in Iraq, seizing large parts of the country in June. Later that month the group, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS or ISIL), declared itself a caliphate and announced its rebranding as the Islamic State.
In August, the United States authorized airstrikes to help Bagdad fight against the terrorists who made hundreds of Iraqis flee.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that the Islamic State was “turning a swathe of Iraq and Syria into a terrorist state as a base for launching attacks on the West." He added that the threat from Syria and Iraq would last a generation.