Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Ja’afari has expressed gratitude to Iran for supporting Baghdad in its fight against terrorism.
“Iran has provided assistance to Iraq, as have some other countries. This is not a secret and we have to thank them for it,” the top Iraqi diplomat said on Wednesday.
Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Major General Gholam-Ali Rashid said on September 27 that the Islamic Republic was offering military advice to the Iraqi army.
“Today, some of our commanders are giving [military] advisory assistance to Iraq and its army,” Sepahnews quoted the senior Iranian military official as saying.
The comments came days after a senior general with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said that Tehran played a pivotal role in defending Iraq’s Kurdistan Region against the ISIL terrorist group, noting that the territory could have fallen to ISIL militants without Iran’s support.
“The ISIL would have captured Iraq’s Kurdistan [Region] if it were not for Iran. General [Qasem] Soleimani [a commander of the IRGC] stopped the ISIL with 70 men and prevented them (militants) from entering [the Kurdish city of] Erbil,” Commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said on September 23.
Separately, the Iraqi foreign minister referred to recent airstrikes by Western countries against the ISIL terrorist group, stressing that any foreign assistance to Iraq should respect the country’s sovereignty.
“We cannot accept that Iraq is becoming a land of conflict but we have to solve this problem in a way that preserves Iraqi sovereignty,” Ibrahim al-Jaafari said.
The UK’s Defense Ministry announced in a statement on Tuesday that British warplanes have conducted their first aerial strikes against ISIL terrorists in northwestern Iraq.
The official statement further added that the bombings by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) were “part of the international coalition’s operations” to purportedly support the Iraqi government in its battle against the terrorists.
The development comes as British authorities have repeatedly warned that UK nationals belonging to the ISIL terrorist group in Iraq and Syria are a major threat to the nation’s security.
Britain has been among the western countries that have actively backed the militants, including ISIL operatives, fighting the Syrian government since 2011.