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Iran says US has worn out its welcome with Iraqi people

Sitting with The Times, Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Kazemi-Qomi warned that the United States had worn out its welcome with the Iraqi people and said that Iraqis did not want a long-term security agreement with the United States, Los Angeles Times said. Question: Does one country, Iran or the United States, have more influence inside Iraq with the government and political parties? Ambassador Kazemi-Qomi: The policy of our country is, first, Iraq is an independent and free country, a country which we wish has stability and security. We wish that Iraq has prosperity and progress, that the government is elected by their people, with national unity, and will have the withdrawal of all foreign military forces from its territory. 

 

On this policy, we are taking steps with the Iraqi people to support the Iraqi government in the political process and the security process. We support both the security and reconstruction process. We support both the Iraqi people and government within these frameworks.

 

Iraq and Iran have cultural and religious common ground and historical relations. We are together with Iraqis in sharing the same religion and also in belonging to the Shia sect with many Iraqis. We also share ties with the Kurds. Between the two countries and the Iraqi and Iranian people, there are many relations and common interests.

 

On the other hand, as neighboring countries, we have long shared borders. Iran is considered the best transit route to Iraq. In addition to that, Iran has good experience in reconstruction. The infrastructure of Iraq in the last three years has been completely destroyed. Today, they’ve started the reconstruction. . . .

 

Regarding the United States, Iraq is not a football. The Iraqis were happy when Saddam [Hussein]’s regime was toppled, but because of the American behavior and policies, Iraqis started to look at then in a negative way in spite being happy when the regime was toppled. They are upset because of the occupation.

 

The behavior of the Americans after the occupation makes the Iraqis angrier. If you go talk to the Iraqi people, when Saddam’s regime was toppled, they were happy. Now Iraqis think when the Americans toppled Saddam’s regime, it was for America’s interests and not the Iraqis.

 

Iraqis don’t forget the previous support of the Americans to his regime. The Americans encouraged him and supported him [before the 1990 invasion of Kuwait]. Regrettably, America occupied this country.

 

They didn’t pay attention to the culture of these people. They didn’t think of the interests of the Iraqi people.

 

Question: Have you suggested or counseled the Iraqis on the negotiations for the joint US-Iraqi security agreement?

Kazemi-Qomi: Americans are making slogans about freedom and democracy in Iraq, but now they want to impose this agreement. . . .

 

You can’t create freedom by force. The security agreement is an internal affair — a pure Iraqi affair. It’s an Iraqi national issue.

 

The agreement is now one-sided. They should respect Iraq’s affairs.

 

The Marjaiyah [Shia clerical elite] and parliament are both important and should be respected. The Iraqi government has its opinions. Its people and political powers are clever. What we have read about the agreement, it is not in the interests of the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people disagree with anything that breaks their independence and sovereignty and judicial sovereignty and the people’s civil rights.

 

On this basis, the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government look at the agreement as being imposed on them. . . .

 

In our opinion, the foreign military presence in Iraq is not in the interests of the Iraqi or the countries in the region. Others should not impose an agreement in which there is no interest for the government and Iraqi people.

 

What we understand from the Iraqi people, they are refusing the presence and intervention of others.

 

Our advice to the Americans is as follows: Before the anger of the Iraqi people regarding the occupation turns to violence, the Americans should logically solve this.

 

They should pay attention to the sovereignty of Iraq and its culture and traditions. This is the sort of safety valve for maintaining the interests of all.

 

Question: But do you advise or speak with the Iraqis about Iran’s opinions on the agreement?

Kazemi-Qomi: This is an Iraqi issue. It is a pure Iraqi issue. It is they who decide. They are looking out for the interests of the people.

 

Question: U.S. officials regularly accuse Iran of backing Shia militia groups. Is there any truth to the allegations?

Kazemi-Qomi: These accusations are baseless. The American have no evidence. Terrorism and the lack of security in Iraq is opposite the Iranian policy. These accusations are baseless. They have a political agenda. It is propaganda for America.

 

Question: What has been the role of [Brig.] Gen. Qassem Suleimani [the commander of the Quds Force] in ending Iraq’s recent violence involving the Mahdi Army?

Iraqi officials credit him with helping pressure [Shia cleric Muqtada] Sadr to stop fighting first in Basra and then in Sadr City.

 

Kazemi-Qomi: The policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in its policies and actions are to be part of the solution in Iraq. We played a big role in Iraq’s prevailing security.

 

Regarding Qassem Suleimani, he is one of the Iranian officials, and he has responsibility for Iraqi affairs. He has a good relationship with all Iraqi leaders. We support any step to strengthen security in Iraq. We think all parties and countries will support or have to support Iraq’s security, reconstruction and stability.

 

Regarding the Sadrists, this is a political bloc. They have more than 30 lawmakers. We engage all blocs and political groups to help the government and security. . . .

 

Again, I would like to say Suleimani is one of the Iranian officials working under the framework of Iraqi policy. Iraqi leaders are always commenting on the positive role of this man, and he doesn’t pay attention to others words about him because he plays a positive role in Iraq. The accusations from the Americans are silly accusations and they don’t deserve to be commented upon.

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دسته‌بندی شده در: Iran, Iraq, Middle East,

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