MESOP : FRIENDS ??? – Iran ready to promote political ties with Kurdistan Region: Shamkhani

10 August 2016 – MESOP – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani hailed the long-term friendship between Iran and Kurdistan Region, saying that Tehran is prepared to expand its cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has long had warm relations with Kurdish groups in Iraq,” Shamkhani said in a meeting with former prime minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, Barham Ahmad Salih, held in Tehran on Tuesday.

 “The deep friendship between Iran and Iraqi Kurdish brothers is the result of cooperation and joint struggles throughout the past years in hard and tense battlefields,” he said, describing the friendship as “unbreakable”.

The Iranian official further noted that national unity and solidarity among different Iraqi groups and sects are the overriding priority to deal with the security crisis that has beset Iraq. “Iraq’s strategic interests and its regional power depend solely on strengthening an integrated and united Iraq,” he added, as reported by Tasnim. He also warned that ignoring the goal of united Iraq would result in instability and damages, as is evident in the fact that Iraq’s Sunni Muslims have borne the brunt of attacks by the IS terrorist group.

Smashing IS will strengthen unity in Iraq and boost its national identity, which is why certain foreign countries and regional players are not interested in the settlement of the crisis and are propping up IS ideologies, Shamkhani said.He further reaffirmed Iran’s support for unity among all Iraqi groups, including Kurds, and added, “Increasing integrity and friendship among the Kurdish groups for active partnership in the political and economic structure of united Iraq is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s unchanging policy.”

Salih, for his part, hailed Iran’s constructive measures in the fight against terrorism, highlighting the importance that the Iraqi Kurdistan region attaches to ties with Iran. “We regard the Islamic Republic of Iran as our strategic ally,” he underlined.