TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said Tehran and Baghdad have agreed to launch air defense cooperation to combat possible threats to Iran’s western border.
Briefing reporters on the results of a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart in Tehran, Major General Baqeri said Iran and Iraq have warm relations in military areas.
“Iran and Iraq have deep commonalities. Our relations with Iraq are different from those with other countries because Iran and Iraq enjoy common interests and are exposed to common threats,” IFP quoted him as saying.
The general then referred to the great number of Iranian religious tourists visiting Iraq each year, noting that the militaries of the two sides need to establish further cooperation to preserve regional security and achieve their common goals.
He also pointed to his recent visit to Damascus for a trilateral meeting with his Iraqi and Syrian counterparts on regional security, adding that during the meeting, he held some discussions on military cooperation between the three countries.
“And during my meeting with Iraqi commander in Tehran, we discussed border issues. Meanwhile, based on an agreement reached by two sides’ high-ranking officials, Iran and Iraq are set to dredge the Arvand river in the near future. The security of the project is expected to be provided by the two sides’ militaries. We also exchanged views on Iran and Iraq cooperation in the river to strengthen the Persian Gulf’s security,” he said.
Elsewhere, the top general said during the meeting, he also urged reopening of the Khosravi border checkpoint for Iranian religious tourists.
“The Iraqi official promised to provide Iranian religious tourists with a safe road through Diyala province and reopen the Khosravi border checkpoint in the near future so that Iranian pilgrims could also travel to Syria through Iraq. The Iraqi side also expressed his country’s readiness to prepare the border routes. Meanwhile, the Syrian side has already announced its readiness to take part in the project,” Baqeri said.
He further said that he and his Iraqi counterpart have discussed air defense cooperation between the two neighbors.
“We sense some air threats from our western borders. To cope with any potential attack, we feel that Iran and Iraq should establish air defense cooperation”, he added.
The brigadier general also referred to the presence of American forces in Iraq and said the Iraqi officials have ensured the Islamic Republic that they won’t participate in the US sanctions against Iran.
“So far, they have had good cooperation with Iran and the Iraqi commander ensured that his country would have more controls over US forces. He maintained that the US forces are stationed in Iraq for only training purposes,” Major General Baqeri said.