'Teheran counts on victory of Iraqis'

Ahmadinejad tells Iraqi PM that 'Teheran and Baghdad share responsibility.'

Ahmadinejad 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Ahmadinejad 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Teheran and Baghdad share a "heavy responsibility" in establishing peace and security in the region, the official IRNA news agency reported Thursday. "Teheran counts on the victory of Iraqis for the future of the region," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as telling his guest during their meeting late Wednesday. Al-Maliki responded that Iran has a "positive and constructive" role in helping the Iraqi government improve security in his war torn nation, IRNA said. "Today, Iran, Iraq and all countries of the region must fight against terrorism," al-Maliki was quoted as saying. Ahmadinejad described the current situation as "very sensitive," IRNA reported. "Iran and Iraq have a heavy responsibility for establishing peace and security in the region," he said. He praised the Iraqi government's efforts as it struggles to provide security for its people. "Trying to preserve the independence and dignity of Iraq, creating a free government is the best action," the agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. The Iraqi premier's three-day visit to its neighbor came as the United States has stepped up accusations that Teheran is arming Iraqi Shi'ite militants. Iraqi officials would not say if al-Maliki, on his second trip to Teheran in the past year, was directly pressing Iran on the US accusations during his talks with Iranian leaders. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the visit aimed to boost agreements making Iran "a positive base" in support of Iraq. Iran has denied arming or financing Shi'ite militias. Al-Maliki's government has said only that it does not "rule out" Iranian involvement. Al-Maliki and Iraqi officials gave few details on what sort of security cooperation they were seeking from Iran during his visit. The trip also aimed to tighten already growing economic ties between the two countries.