WASHINGTON – BasNews 17 Apr 2015 – The Iraq’s prime minister on Thursday welcomed Iran’s help in its fight against Islamic State militants, but asked Tehran government to respect Iraq’s sovereignty. “I’ve told my Iranian friends very bluntly they are helping Iraq. Thank you very much but everything must be done through the government of Iraq,” said Haider al-Abadi while speaking at Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington.
Abadi’s address was part of a three-day visit to the U.S., his first here since being elected as Iraqi Prime Minister. “We must not only win the war. We must also win the peace. And that is what we plan to do,” he said, noting that the highest priority on his government’s agenda is “reducing ethnic, sectarian tensions and divisions,” by reaching out to minority communities in the country. During a joint press conference with Abadi on Tuesday, President Barack Obama seemed to foreshadow the Iraqi leader’s words saying that the U.S. anticipated a relationship between Iran and Iraq but stressed his belief that all foreign aid should “be accountable to the chain of command in Iraq.” During the recent battle to re-capture the Iraqi city of Tikrit from Daesh militants, Iran and the U.S. found themselves on the same side fighting against the terror group. The U.S. later set as a condition for continued U.S. assistance, the removal of Iranian Shiite militias.