PM Al-Abadi Rejects Reports on Iran’s Military Presence in Iraq
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hailed Iran’s “constructive role” in fight against ISIL terrorists, and rejected reports on Tehran’s military presence in Iraq.
“Not even a single Iranian soldier is present in the Iraqi territory,” Abadi reiterated, speaking at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss city of Davos on Friday. “Iran did not have any military presence in Iraq before, either,” the Iraqi official added.
He further pointed to the presence of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in the anti-ISIL campaign, and said that he has “special respect” for the Islamic Revolution Guardian Corps (IRGC) commander, al-Iraq News reported.
“General Qassem Soleimani is an Iranian official and we do not deny our cooperation with him,” he underscored, while adding that Baghdad has had interactions with him and has a great respect for him and the Iranian organization.
Al-Abadi also referred to Tehran’s contributory role in Iraq’s fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group, and hailed Iran’s help (to the Arab country) in initial stages of the war.
“Iran’s participation in initial stages of the war against the ISIL was very constructive,” the Iraqi prime minister said, adding that Iranians helped the Arab country and immediately provided weapons for them.
“They did not even ask for the money at the beginning, and said they will collect it later,” he explained.
Iran has constantly rejected reports on its military presence in Iraq, saying that its assistance is confined to advisory help. Several Iraqi officials have also confirmed that Iran has no military troops in the Arab country.
The ISIL militants made swift advances in much of 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 popular 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 the ISIL offensive.