TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani underlined the Islamic Republic’s continued support for Iraq in its efforts to restore security and peace to the Arab country.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s government and nation will be supportive of Iraq’s armed forces as in the past and will cooperate (with Iraq) in all required fields, including reconstruction and development of cities, in line (with Iraqis’ efforts) to restore full security and peace to the country and totally remove terrorist threats,” Shamkhani said Sunday in a meeting in Tehran with Iraqi Defense Minister  Erfan Mahmoud al-Hayali.

He also lauded Iraq for its victories against Daesh (ISIL or ISIIS) terrorists, saying that while US officials had suggested it would take seven years to force Deash out of Iraq, the Arab country’s people, army and popular forces, backed by religious leadership, managed to recapture occupied areas from the terrorist group in a short time.

Earlier this month, Iraqi forces liberated the northern city of Mosul, the last major Daesh stronghold in the country, after a seven-month intensive battle.   

Daesh terrorists had seized Mosul when they made swift advances in northern and western Iraq over the summer of 2014, after capturing swaths of northern Syria.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Shamkhani stressed that Iraq’s territorial integrity guarantees stability and security and safeguards the interests of all Iraqi tribes and communities, warning that attempts aimed at partitioning Iraq could set the ground for insecurity and instability in the country.

He was referring to plans in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region to hold a referendum on independence.

Masoud Barzani, the president of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), has announced that the northern territory will hold the independence referendum on September 25.

The Iraqi defense minister, for his part, thanked Iran for supporting Iraq in the fight against terrorism, saying it played “a decisive role” in the Arab country’s triumph over Daesh.

He further highlighted the common objectives and interests shared by the two countries and called for boosting bilateral cooperation in various fields.

Heading a military delegation, Hayali arrived in Tehran on Saturday for an official visit.

On Sunday morning, he and Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan signed an agreement to enhance military cooperation between the two neighbors in a host of fields, including counterterrorism.