Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has dismissed reports about the deployment of Iranian forces in Iraq, but expressed Tehran’s preparedness to provide any help upon Baghdad’s request to fight the Takfiri militants.
“The issue of Iranian forces’ engagement [in Iraq] has not been raised so far,” Rouhani said in a Saturday press conference in Tehran marking the first anniversary of his election.
Except for providing consultations in certain cases, Rouhani stressed, Iran will not engage in any military operations in other countries.
“If Iraq wants any help from us, we will study it. There has been no request from us so far. We are prepared to provide any assistance but within the framework of international law and based on the Iraqi people’s demands,” he pointed out.
The Iranian president also dismissed reports about ongoing cooperation between Iran and the US over the crisis in Iraq, saying, “The Americans may also want to help, but I haven’t received any word on that so far.”
Rouhani also warned Takfiri groups against conducting any terrorist operations near the Iranian borders, saying, “If any terrorist group wants to get close to our borders and we feel the threat, we will definitely respond with every possible means.”
The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Takfiri terrorist group has captured two Iraqi provincial capitals this week, namely Tikrit in the Salahuddin Province, and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, in the northern province of Nineveh.
On Friday, top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a religious decree calling on people to take up arms and defend their country against the Takfiri militants.
The Iraqi army is currently battling the terrorists on the outskirts of the city of Muqdadiyah, situated northeast of Baquba, in Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala.
The extremist terrorists have threatened to take their acts of violence to other Iraqi cities, including the capital, Baghdad.