Iran hopes new Iraq government can restore calm

2014-09-09 13:00
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani answers questions during an Asia Society event on the sidelines of the 68th United Nations General Assembly, in New York. (Emmanuel Dunand, AFP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani answers questions during an Asia Society event on the sidelines of the 68th United Nations General Assembly, in New York. (Emmanuel Dunand, AFP)

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Tehran - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani welcomed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's new government on Wednesday, saying he hoped it would help turn the tide against Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists.

"I hope that during your new mandate, complete calm will return to your country," Rouhani said on the Iranian government's website, after Abadi unveiled his new cabinet in Baghdad.

Iran's deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian echoed Rouhani's comments, saying Tehran supported Abadi's government.

"The time has come for countries in the region to help the Iraq government to fight the terrorists there," said Abdollahian, whose brief includes representing Iran's interests to Arab and African states.

Inclusive government

Iraqi MPs approved a new cabinet late on Monday but the interior and defence minister posts, considered crucial in the fight against ISIS militants, have not yet been agreed.

Abadi had been under heavy international pressure to form an inclusive government that could present a united front against the jihadists, who have seized much of the country's Sunni heartland.

Iran and Iraq, which have Shiite majorities, have come together since the fall of Iraq's Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein after a US-led invasion in 2003 that turned into a near-decade-long occupation.

Iran has provided Iraq with military advisers and was the first country to send weapons to Kurdish fighters in the north, according to the autonomous region's president Massud Barzani.

The US has been conducting air strikes in Iraq since 8 August and on Monday Secretary of State John Kerry vowed to build an enduring international coalition to defeat ISIS.

Prior to heading to Saudi Arabia to meet Arab foreign ministers, Kerry said more than 40 nations were set to join the US-led coalition.

Despite Iran and the US sharing a common interest to defeat ISIS they last week denied there would be cooperation.

Read more on:    isis  |  haider al-abadi  |  john kerry  |  hassan rouhani  |  us  |  iran  |  iraq

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