Iranian Cleric Reiterates Tehran's Support for Iraq's Territorial Integrity
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Tehran's Provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami welcomed the recent victories of the Iraqi army over terrorists, and said the Islamic Republic of Iran supports Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Addressing a large congregation of worshippers here in Tehran on Friday, Ayatollah Khatami congratulated Iraqi army’s recent advances in Salahuddin province and the recapture of territories previously occupied by the ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) terrorist group.
As regards the Islamic Republic’s advisory assistance to Iraq in its fight against terrorists, Ayatollah Khatami said the assistance is aimed at foiling enemies’ attempts to break up the neighboring country.
“Iran backs the territorial integrity of Iraq,” he reiterated.
Ayatollah Khatami also said the world is well aware that Iran came to help Iraq in combatting the terrorists when the hegemonic powers refused to provide Baghdad with any help.
“Our Iraqi brothers should know that we are with them and will assist them in building a glorious Iraq that can withstand and resist all conspiracies,” he went on to say.
Iraqi forces, backed by volunteer fighters, keep advancing in Tikrit, a major stronghold of ISIL militants and located 140 kilometers (86 miles) northwest of Baghdad. The operation has so far liberated major parts of the city, which is the hometown of slain Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
It is the largest operation launched by the government to date and many see it as a prelude to recapturing the northern city of Mosul.
While US-led international coalition against ISIL has no role to play in the operation, Iran’s advisory assistance is said to have played a major role in the Iraqi army’s victories.
Tehran has already made it clear that its assistance to Iraq is confined to consultation and advisory help.
Iranian officials say Iraq is capable of defending itself and there is no need for Iran to send any combat troops to the Arab country.