Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif strongly dismissed western media claims about the presence of Iranian forces in Iraq to help the country’s government in the fight against terrorists and said No Iranian IRGC Boots on Iraq’s Soil.
“We believe that our Iraqi brothers, including Kurdish and Sunni brothers, are capable of defending themselves and Iraq does not need Iran to defend it,” the Iranian foreign minister said in a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari in Baghdad and in response to the question if recent media reports on the deployment of Iranian soldiers in Iraq were true.
The US Wall Street Journal in a report in June claimed that Tehran has sent two elite units of its IRGC to Iraq to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) terrorists – an Al-Qaeda offshoot.
The Iranian foreign minister pointed to Iran-Iraq bilateral ties, and said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran defends the territorial integrity, development and security of Iraq and sees it as a priority of its foreign diplomacy.”
He pointed to Iran-Iraq economic relations, and said, “We consider economic ties with Iraq as long-term and strategic relations, specially with regard to the fact that the two neighbors share common history.”
On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham also rejected claimed about the present of Iranian forces in Iraq.
Afkham made it clear that Iran has not dispatched any troops to Iraq and has no plans to do so.
Also yesterday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan rejected media reports on the presence of the country’s military forces in Iraq to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying that Baghdad does not need assistance of Iranian troops in its combat against the terrorist group.
“We have made official announcements that we would not spare any effort to assist and back up the Iraqi government and nation in grounds of combat against terrorists, but when it comes to military assitance we believe that there is no need to Iran’s direct presence in Iraq to confront Daesh (ISIL) as the Iraqi nation and government, relying on the central role of the religious authority, are able to confront it,” Dehqan said in a press conference in Tehran on Saturday.
He described the ISIL as a terrorist group at the service of the Zionist regime, and said, “Those who supported them yesterday and support them today too have now come to realize the correctness of Iran’s words that they (the ISIL members) contribute to insecurity in the region.”
“Today the US and France should take action to compensate for their supports (for the ISIL) and become united against Daesh,” Dehqan said.
Officials both in Tehran and Baghdad have repeatedly rejected the reports on the deployment of Iranian troops in Iraq after such reports appeared in some western media outlets.
In June, Iraqi Ambassador to Tehran Mohammad Majid al-Sheikh rejected certain media claims about the presence of Iranian military forces in Iraq to help the Iraqi government in the fight against terrorists.
“These are just the rumors of biased and despiteful media which are seeking to sow discord among the regional states, specially Iran and Iraq,” Majid al-Sheikh said, addressing a conference in Tehran.
“Iraq doesn’t need any country neither for weapons nor for the military forces at all; hence, I emphasize that neither General (Qassem) Soleimani (Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force) nor any other (Iranian) figure is in Iraq,” he reiterated.
Referring to the recent surge in the terrorist attacks in Iraq, Majid al-Sheikh said the parliamentary election in Iraq was a shocking event for the terrorists, certain regional states and their western supporters, and that they have resorted to terrorist attacks to attain their ominous goals when they came to face their failure in the election.