US, Pompeo has no right to meddle in Iran-Iraq ties: Zarif

Najaf, Jan 17, IRNA – There is no right for the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to interfere in relations between Iran and Iraq, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday.

Tehran-Baghdad ties are not superficial, Zarif said while talking to reporters after a meeting held in Iraq’s central-south city of Najaf with participation of Iranian and Iraqi economic practitioners.

“We and Iraq had relationship [even] before the existence of the United States,” said Zarif, adding Iran’s cooperation with Iraq will continue.

Referring to his travel to the Iraqi cities which started on January 13, Zarif said “We are brothers,” and his visit to Iraq which as he noted has been the longest he paid to a country indicated the two nations' willingness to have special relations.

Zarif further described his trip to the Iraqi cities of Baghdad, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Karbala and Najaf and his meetings with the Iraqi officials as “good.”

“I confidently say that Iran-Iraq cooperation have bright future,” Zarif said.

Asked whether Iran and Iraq would cooperate to generate nuclear power (electricity), Zarif said Tehran is ready to have such cooperation with neighbors within the framework of the international regulations.

Iran believes that nuclear technology should not be monopolized, the foreign minister added.

In another part of his remarks, Zarif said Iran is ready to boost cooperation with Iraq in the area of solar energy.

Today more than any other time, the two countries are in need of economic development, and those who are against strengthening Tehran-Baghdad relations are ill-wishers, Zarif said.

At the end of his remarks, he said Iran is in full readiness to agree on reciprocal visa-free travel between Iran and Iraq.

On Wednesday evening, Zarif said in the central Iraqi city of Karbala that Tehran has offered visa-free entry for both Iranian and Iraqi businesspersons and is waiting for Baghdad's approval.

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