Iraq will not sever ties with Iran despite pressure from Arab nations

AMMAN, Jordan – Iraq will not sever ties with neighboring Iran under pressure from other Arab countries, the Iraqi Foreign Minister confirmed to Rudaw on the sidelines of the Amman Summit as a draft resolution is being considered by the Arab League members calling on Tehran to cease meddling in affairs of the region.

“Iraq is not ready to step towards agitating the region and will not sever ties with any neighboring country,” Ibrahim al-Jaafari told Rudaw, referring to its Shiite neighbor Iran, a strong ally of Baghdad.

Baghdad is not willing to cut ties with any neighboring country, even Turkey, Jaafari said, despite growing differences between the two over the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq.

“Do you know that when I am speaking right here Turkish troops are in Iraq, but we have not ended relations with Turkey,” he said.

He stressed that Iraq is doing its best to have friendly relations with its neighbors.

“We do our outmost to lead our relations to go on the right way,” he said, confidently.

Jaafari’s Palestinian counterpart does not echo the sentiment that Arab countries should be lenient in their protest to Iran’s presence in some Arab capitals.

Commenting on a 15-point draft resolution against Iran, Riyad al-Maliki, said it was a unanimous stance of Arab countries against Iran.

“This is the stance of Arab countries because Iran has been meddling in the Arab countries’ affairs and it is present in some Arab capitals,” he said.

He added if Iran continues its presence in Arab capitals, it would undermine any effort to bring peace to the Middle East.

“Having Iranian armed groups will lead to triggering outright and frank words from Arabs against Iran,” Maliki warned.

Addressing the US House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, CENTCOM commander Gen. Joseph Votel, said “Iran wants to be the predominate power in the region.”

In his opinion, Votel said, “Iran poses the greatest long term threat to stability in this part of the world.”

Arab leaders at the 28th Arab Summit in Amman are urging action to condemn Iranian “meddling” in regional affairs in order to promote stability in the Middle East, according to a draft resolution seen and translated by Rudaw.

Lebanon, Tunisia, and Iraq have, however, expressed reservations about the resolution.

While Arab leaders are meeting in Amman, Iranian leader Hasan Rouhani wrapped up a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The two leaders discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation and shared regional interests, including Iraq and Syria.

Also on Wednesday, Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Reza Salehi Amiri met with the speaker of the Algerian parliament, Mohamed al-Arabi Ould Khalifa, in Algiers to discuss bilateral relations, regional issues, and confronting extremism and terrorism, IRNA reported.

Khalifa reportedly called for developing parliamentary relations between their two nations. Algeria is a member of the Arab League.

Amiri will also travel to Tunisia, another Arab League member.