Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reassured neighboring Iraq of Tehran’s steadfast support in the fight against terrorist groups and in protecting the holy Shiite sites in the Arab country.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will always stand with the Iraqi government and people in defending the shrines of Ahl al-Bayt (Shiite imams) and battling terrorism,” President Rouhani said at a meeting with Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) Ammar Hakim in Tehran on Monday.
The president further hailed Iraq’s recent victories against the terrorist groups as a remarkable achievement, stressing the need for strong unity among the Iraqi political, religious and ethnic groups.
He also praised the Iraqi religious authorities for their role in leading people and strengthening solidarity among different groups to serve the national interests.
Urging the expansion of Tehran-Baghdad relations in all fields, Rouhani said stronger bilateral ties will be in the interests of the two nations and of the regional countries.
The Iraqi official, for his part, hailed Iran for its major role in the fight against terrorism.
Hakim also described recent liberation of the city of Fallujah from Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri terrorist group as a result of unity and coordination between the whole Iraqis.
Rouhani had already described any threat to the holy shrines of Shiite Imams in Iraq as a red line for the Islamic Republic.
Back in March, the president said Iran has made it clear from the onset of Daesh offensive against Iraq that any sacrilegious move against the holy shrines of Shiite Imams in the Arab country is Tehran’s red line.
No act of aggression against the holy shrines of Imams will be allowed, he had noted.
Daesh is a terrorist group that made advances in northern and western Iraq in summer 2014, after capturing swaths of northern Syria.
However, a combination of concentrated attacks by the Iraqi military and the volunteer forces, who rushed to take arms after top Iraqi cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa calling for fight against the militants, have blunted the edge of Daesh offensive.