Iran’s Zarif urges cessation of attacks on Iraqi diplomatic sites
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has condemned any assaults on diplomatic places, saying such attacks in Iraq must be stopped.
Speaking in a Saturday meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein in Tehran, Zarif said attacks on diplomatic sites are “unacceptable”.
According to Press TV, he touched upon attacks carried out against Iran’s diplomatic locations and highlighted the necessity of guaranteeing the dignity and security of Iranian diplomats in Iraq.
The heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, which hosts foreign diplomatic sites and government buildings, have also been frequently targeted by rockets and explosives in the past few years.
The main target of the attacks is said to be the US embassy, but other missions have also been attacked. In one of the most recent cases earlier this month, which drew Iran’s condemnation as well, an improvised explosive device targeted a British Embassy vehicle returning from Baghdad airport just outside the Green Zone that houses the UK Embassy and other diplomatic missions.
In reaction to the attack, the Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned all acts of aggression targeting foreign diplomatic missions in Iraq.
Usually no one claims responsibility for these attacks; however, the US blames Iraqi Shia groups and has called on the Iraqi government to stop such attacks. Iraqi groups, in turn, say the US organizes the attacks against its own embassy in order to justify its continued presence in the Arab country’s territory.
Iraqi lawmakers in January unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Iran's top military commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
In the Saturday meeting in Tehran, Foreign Minister Zarif referred to the United States’ assassination of Lt. General Soleimani in Iraq, and called on the government in Baghdad to discharge its responsibility in that regard.
The Iraqi top diplomat, in turn, said Iraq will not allow its soil to be used for threatening neighboring countries.
Soleimani assassination ‘insult to Iraqi nation’
In a separate meeting with Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, the top lawmaker said the US’ drone attack in Baghdad which resulted in the assassination of Lt. General Soleimani and his comrade Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was an “insult” to the nation’s sovereignty and a violation of Iraq’s independence.
Qalibaf further slammed the US interference in the region and the presence of US-powered Daesh terrorist group, saying the withdrawal of American terrorist forces will resolve all the problems of Baghdad.
Earlier in the day, President Hassan Rouhani had warned against the adverse consequences of the United States’ military presence in the region, saying all regional countries are duty-bound to expel the US.
In a meeting with the Iraqi top diplomat in Tehran on Saturday, Rouhani added that the Islamic Republic has always expressed its political stance on regional issues in an explicit and clear way.
“We regard the presence of the US Armed Forces in the region whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or the southern Persian Gulf littoral states as detrimental to regional security and stability,” the Iranian president stated.
Stressing that every single country, where the United States has deployed forces, needed to help expel American forces from the region, Rouhani commended as a “positive step” a bill approved by Iraqi lawmakers that demands expulsion of US forces from the Arab country, adding that Iran backed the move.
The cowardly act of terror was carried out under the direction of US President Donald Trump, with the Pentagon taking responsibility for the strike.