Iran's Leader Casts Doubt on US Loyalty to Allies
TEHRAN (FNA)- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei questioned Washington's fake friendship with other states, even its European allies, and cautioned the Baghdad government that the US is no friend of Iraq and even one American in the Arab country is "too many".
Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting with Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid in Tehran on Saturday. Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi was also present in the meeting.
"Americans are not friends with anyone and are not even loyal to their European friends," the Leader stressed.
He stated that the progress, prosperity, independence and development of Iraq are "of high importance" to Iran, noting, "Expansion of bilateral cooperation and implementation of agreements are beneficial to the two countries."
"There is fierce enmity toward expansion of relations between Iran and Iraq and if there were no strong historical and religious bonds between the two countries, the state of relations would perhaps return to that of Saddam's era," Ayatollah Khamenei continued.
The Supreme Leader hailed the Iraqi people's hospitality toward Iranian pilgrims during the annual Arba’een commemorations and other religious rituals despite eight years of war between the two countries (in 1980s).
"The meaning of such a very important issue is that there are unifying factors between the two nations and the two states foreign political factors cannot influence. So this opportunity should be used to further deepen relations and there should be serious care and vigilance for their continuation," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader added the current satisfactory situation in Iraq's government is the outcome of unity among the people and political groups.
The Iraqi president, for his part, said his country enjoys continuous and strong relations with Iran in various fields.
Pointing to his talks with Iranian officials in Tehran, Rashid stated that Iraq is making utmost efforts to strengthen relations with Iran and implement the remaining issues between the two countries.
He also appreciated support of the Iranian government and people for Iraq in its fight against terrorism at different times.
President Rashid also held meetings with President Rayeesi and Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Rashid on Saturday, Rayeesi described the presence of American troops in West Asia as destructive. He stressed that stability and security in the region can be achieved through cooperation among the regional states and in absence of foreigners.
"As much as we consider it useful to conduct negotiations between the countries of the region, we also do not consider the presence of foreign forces in the region to be beneficial," Iran's president stated.
"We consider the presence of the Americans to be a threat to security and stability in the region. Americans are looking for their own interests, not the interests of the regional nations," he stressed.
"The smallest insecurity in Iraq would be deemed insecurity in Iran. Iraq’s security matters to Iran," the president continued.
Iranian officials have repeatedly underlined the necessity for the settlement of the crises and problems in the region through collective cooperation among the regional states, and underscored that the presence of foreigners is harmful. They have repeatedly stated that the US should end its illegal presence and withdraw its forces from the region with no delay.
Tehran urged the neighboring countries to be extremely vigilant about any US-Israeli plan that clearly aims to disturb the stability and order of the region.
Iran says the US is the primary source of insecurity in West Asia and Washington remains responsible for the instability in the region as long as its wrong and crisis-making policies are not rectified.