Iranian, Iraqi leaders pledge to strengthen ties, cooperation

Tehran: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Saturday the expansion of cooperation between Iran and Iraq and the implementation of previously signed bilateral agreements serve the common interests of both sides, according to official news agency IRNA.
He made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid, also attended by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in Tehran.
The top leader stressed that Iraq’s progress and prosperity are very important to Iran, adding that Iran will stand by Iraq and wish to see it make further progress.
He added that the “unity” between the two countries cannot be affected by external political factors, calling for joint efforts to protect and further the bilateral ties.
The Iraqi president, for his part, said the relations between Tehran and Baghdad are continuous and strong and the bilateral cooperations are carried out in diversified dimensions and different sectors.
Earlier in the day, Raisi said at a joint press conference that Tehran and Baghdad are determined to further develop the bilateral relations after meeting with Iraqi high-ranking delegations led by Rashid.
Raisi said relations between Tehran and Baghdad are “strategic,” noting that the two countries can further increase their current over 10 billion-U.S. dollar annual trade volume.
He confirmed that the bilateral cooperation in sectors of infrastructure, water, electricity, gas, and energy will be strengthened.
Raisi slammed that the presence of foreign troops, particularly Americans in Iraq, only compromises regional security, adding the United States seeks solely its own interests.
The Iranian president expressed hope that Rashid’s visit would be a turning point in efforts to further develop bilateral ties.
For his part, Rashid called for greater cooperation with Iran in the field of fighting narcotics trade.
Rashid also congratulated Iran on the rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh, noting that the step will contribute to improving regional security.

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