TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stressed that Tehran views the Iraqi government as responsible for the immediate release of the Iranian diplomats kidnapped during an earlier raid by the US troops in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil.
Mottaki made the remarks in a meeting with the Iraqi Minister of State for National Security and caretaker of the Transportation Ministry, Shirwan al-Waili here on Wednesday, where the two sides explored ways to consolidate relations and discussed other issues of mutual interest, a report released by the Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Bureau said.
During the meeting, the Iranian top diplomat said that exchange of visits by the senior officials of the two countries serves as a prelude to proper and lustrous prospects for future relations.
Elsewhere, he noted Bush’s new Iraqi strategy and the major elements contributing to insecurities in that country, and stated, “there are two reasons underlying Iraq’s problems, one of which is the insecurities and the evil measures of some malicious individuals who increase insecurities in that country, and the second one pertains to the presence of occupiers who disturb Iraq’s sovereignty by their ignorance or self-centered measures.”
Also elaborating on his assessment of the two countries’ current economic and energy cooperation, the minister stressed the resolve of both Iranian and Iraqi officials to consolidate economic and trade ties and exchange energy possibilities.
He further reminded that during a recent visit to Tehran, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called on the Islamic Republic to assist his administration with establishing security in that country.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran replied to this request positively, but Americans, in a fully self-centered move, arrested the delegation Iran had dispatched to Iraq for the same purpose. They also violated all the international rules and kidnapped the staffers of the Islamic Republic mission in a terrorist and savage raid on Iran’s consulate general in Erbil,” Mottaki continued.
“We take Iraq’s government responsible in this regard and we demand their (the diplomats’) immediate freedom,” he stressed.
Elsewhere, the Iranian foreign minister described presence of Iran’s opposition groups in Iraq as unacceptable, and called for the expulsion of such elements, which he described as anti-revolutionary and enemies of both nations.
“In light of the two countries’ consolidated ties, the presence of the enemies of the two nations in Iraq is unacceptable and the Iranian nation and government expect Iraq to expel these elements and hand them over to the Islamic Republic,” he stated.
For his part, Iraqi Minister of State for National Security Shirwan al-Waili voiced pleasure with the two countries’ commonly shared interests and bonds, and stressed the decisiveness of the Iraqi officials for consolidating mutual ties with Iran.
He also said that the Iraqi prime minister is insistent on developing relations with the Islamic Republic.
Al-Waili, who is also the caretaker of his country’s transportation ministry, further noted the resolve of evil doers for fueling insecurities in Iraq, and underlined, “Those who pursue malicious intentions with regard to Iraqi people seek to rock the boat and to prevent formation and establishment of legal institutions in Iraq.”
He also said that the Iraqi government is firm to guarantee the success of security plans which are aimed to restore stability and security in that country.
Elsewhere, al-Waili noted the introductory measures required for his country’s economic prosperity and the Iraqi government’s efforts in this ground, and stressed, “The Iraqi government believes that Iraq should not be the shelter of the opposition and enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and other neighboring states, and the case of the Iranian arrestees in Erbil has impaired the two sides’ relations.”
He also mentioned that senior Iraqi officials are now consulting about their immediate release from the detention of the US troops.