11/30/2022, 12.59
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Tehran seeks joint committment from Iraqi premier against (Kurdish) 'terrorism'

Mohammed Shia al-Sudani met with President Raisi and Supreme Leader Khamenei (unlike his predecessor al-Khadimi, who was too pro-U.S.). The talks focused on energy, the economy and security. A visit that comes at a time of tension over Iranian attacks in Kurdistan. 


Tehran (AsiaNews) - Energy, economic collaboration, security and a common fight against (Kurdish) "terrorism". These are the points at the centre of the talks between Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and the leaders of the Islamic Republic, during yesterday's official visit to Tehran where he met, among others, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Ebrahim Raisi.

The visit comes at a time of growing tension, linked to the street protests in Iran over the killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police. The violent repression of the demonstrations ordered by the ayatollahs has crossed borders with rocket and drone attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan, which have caused casualties and material damage. 

Receiving the head of the Baghdad government at the presidential palace, Raisi expressed his hope for a further strengthening of ties between the two neighbours, archiving the phase of tension. After Jordan and Kuwait, this is Sudani's third trip abroad since his appointment on the 27th of last month - one year before the October 2021 elections - which ended a long phase of political crisis and institutional stalemate. 

Security, peace, cooperation and regional stability "are very important" for Tehran and Baghdad, the Iranian president stressed at the joint press conference after the meeting. "The fight against terrorist groups, organised crime, drugs and other elements of insecurity that threaten the region," Raisi added, "depends on the common will of our two nations.

Sudani confirmed the government's "determination" to block groups or factions that "use Iraqi territory to undermine or disrupt Iran's security". In this regard, he said that Iraqi federal guards, not the Kurdish Peshmerga, will patrol the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran, a decision welcomed by Tehran.

Finally, a "joint working mechanism" will be created on the ground to "avert" a possible "escalation" between the two countries linked to the Iranian security forces' operations against the Kurds.

Sudani then thanked Tehran for its continuous deliveries of gas and electricity, which are essential to meet his country's needs, adding that a 'mechanism' is being studied to allow Baghdad to pay for the services offered by the Islamic Republic.

The previous Iraqi government had chosen to diversify energy supply sources, strengthening links with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, as well as focusing on solar panels. It is currently unclear whether the new executive will continue with this policy.

In addition, there will be further discussions on broader banking, financial and trade issues; talks between the two allies, Raisi concluded, will help 'to solve bilateral problems'. 

Unlike his predecessor Mustafa al-Khadimi, who was considered too close to the United States and the Arab countries and who on the two occasions he visited Iran never met the supreme leader, the new Iraqi premier received a warm welcome from Khamenei.

The Iranian leader urged him to fight in common defence against "enemies". "Iraq's security," he added, "is also Iran's security and, likewise, Iran's security affects Iraq's security. 

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