Diplomat: Terrorists Incapable of Disrupting Iran-Iraq Cooperation
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Terrorist acts perpetrated by Takfiri groups are not able to damage Tehran-Baghdad strategic relationship, said an Iranian deputy foreign minister on Sunday, two days after an attack on Iranian gas pipeline workers claimed the lives of 20 of them.
“Tehran-Baghdad relations are strategic. Some sides who are after promoting insecurity in the region should realize that the consequences of such a misguided policy could afflict all," said Hossein Amir Abdollahian, deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, referring to the Friday killing of Iranian engineers, technicians and pipeline construction workers.
The Takfiri terrorists are unable to get in the way of cooperation between the two Muslim nations, he asserted, adding that Iran considers "security of Iraq and the region to be connected and interrelated."
The Iraqi government has also set up an investigation committee comprised of high-ranking military and security officials to probe the Friday attack.
In a related development, President Hassan Rouhani talked with Iraqi premier on the phone on Sunday to call for tougher security measures and a united front against the menace of terrorism.
“Those who have plunged the region into crisis through arming, funding and training terrorists will eventually see their support backfiring on them," said the Iranian president in his phone talk with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maleki.
The Iranian president also urged the Iraqi premier to spend greater efforts to ensure the security of the Iranian contractors and companies working in Iraq.
Prime Minister Maleki, too, said in the phone talk that he had issued orders to identify, apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators of the deadly terrorist act.
Iranian ambassador to Iraq, too, had earleir on Sunday asked for identification, apprehension and prosecution of the terrorists who on Friday evening shot dead 20 Iranian gas engineers and technicians near some 80 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.
While visiting the crime site, Ambassador Hassan Danaiefar, who was accompanied by some Iraqi military commanders, asked Iraqi officials to bring to justice those responsible for the attack to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future.
Ali Ghaidan, Commander of Iraq’s Ground Forces, said the issue would be investigated, adding that a new protection mechanism has been planned and the Iraqi Army would be put in charge of providing security for the Iranian workers.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack on the workers, but the Iraqi arm of al-Qaeda is said to be active in the area.
Iran signed a deal in July to build a pipeline and import gas into Iraq to fuel three power plants in the provinces of Baghdad and Diyala, where the attack took place.
Masked gunmen on Friday shot dead 25 people, including 20 Iranians, working on a pipeline outside the northeastern Iraqi town of Muqdadiya, some 80 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. Five other Iranians and two Iraqis were injured in the terrorist attack.
Earlier reports put the death toll from the Friday attack at 15 Iranian workers, along with 3 Iraqis.