Iran’s presidential advisor on ethnic and religious minorities’ affairs, Ali Younesi, has said that Tehran respects the independence and sovereignty of its neighbors, including Iraq.
Younesi made the remark in reaction to comments by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry that had expressed surprise at what he had earlier said.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry has condemned comments by Younesi saying that Iraq, which is a sovereign state administered by Iraqis, has positive relations with its neighbors including Iran, but does not allow any countries to interfere in its internal affairs.
In response Ali Younesi said in an exclusive interview with AL-ALAM that never does Iran want to damage the sovereignty and independence of its neighbors, especially Iraq, and it does not seek to interfere in their internal affairs.
Recalling his comments on Iran’s cultural similarities with Iraq, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan, Younesi said that we can stop expansionist plans of extra-regional countries thanks to unity among regional countries.
Younesi said what I said meant that cultural, economic and political cooperation between countries in the region (which in the past composed the Persian Empire) could take the place of the ancient empires.
If the evil-doers do not stop what they are doing [right now], ISIL can spread to the whole region, the presidential advisor further said.
He then pointed to the military cooperation between Iran and Iraq and said that today Iraqis themselves have engaged in [military] operations and are fighting with ISIL terrorists, adding Iran helps Iraqis if they ask for consultation and weapons.
He then criticized the all-talks-no-action policy of certain states and said that the Western countries just resort to propaganda and do nothing in practice.