Sunday, June 18, 2006

Rafsanjani: Iran will always protect and support Iraq

Mehran Riazaty: Iran analyst
On June 18, Fars News Agency reported that Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Chairman of the Expediency Council, in a meeting with the head of Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Abdul Aziz Hakim, said that the presence of religious authorities on the political scene of Iraq reinvigorates the role of the public and guarantees safeguarding of that country's unity and integrity. He also termed presence of foreign troops in Iraq a major contributor to that country's lack of full independence and the underlying cause of the present insecurities, reiterating that the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly opposes any kind of measure that might disturb Iraq's security. Rafsanjani stressed that his country would support and defend Iraqis under all circumstances and that it would continue its constructive role in easing the pains and sufferings of the Iraqi population.

On June 17, Buffalo news reported that President Bush says it's important for the Iraqi people to know that "America will not abandon them after we have come this far."

On June 16, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that the Leader of United Iraqi Alliance and Head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) Abdul Aziz al-Hakim visited the holy shrine of the founder of Islamic Revolution on Friday night to pay tribute to the late Imam Khomeini by laying a wreath on his tomb. READ MORE

On June 11, IRNA reported that Chairman of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani discussed latest regional and international developments with the visiting Vice-President of Iraq Adel Abdul Mahdi. Rafsanjani stressed that closer ties between Iran and Iraq would guarantee security, prosperity and progress for both their nations and the region as well. Abdul Mahdi, for his part, said that the Iraqi people's main demand was sovereignty for their government and nation. He said that the new Iraqi constitution and government came into being through the will of the Iraqi people and in accordance with guidelines set by the country's religious authority.

On June 17, Fars News Agency reported that the Speaker of the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq Seyed Abdel Aziz Hakim said during a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki that his country has entered a new phase after the formation of the permanent Iraqi government. Hakim, who arrived in Tehran last Monday at the invitation of the Iranian officials, termed likely Iran-US talks on Iraq to serve the interests of the Iraqi nation and expressed hope that such talks would take place.

Today, Fars News Agency reported that the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said that talks with the United States are not on Tehran's working agenda.

Analyst Comment: On May 18, Ali Akbar Velayati, former Iran’s Foreign Minister for about 16 years, and current advisor in International Affairs to the Supreme Leader Ayattolah Khameni, said at this time our friends are in charge of government in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is obvious Hakim believes that Iran is main ally in the current Iraqi government not the United States. While, yesterday Bush said "I traveled to Baghdad to personally show our nation's commitment to a free Iraq, because it is vital for the Iraqi people to know with certainty that America will not abandon them after we have come this far," Hakim was in Iran to show his commitment to the Iranian Authorities. On Friday night Hakim paid a tribute to the late Imam Khomeini by laying a wreath on his tomb. We should not forget that one of Khomeini’s key principles was his implacable anti-Americanism. Khomeini’s view of the United States and Israel was that these two countries were both the source of all evil in the world. It was based on this view that on November 4, 1979, militant Iranian students occupied the American embassy in Tehran. Ayatollah Khomeini had voiced his support for the occupation. On November 5, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini called the United States the Great Satan.

Interesting to know that on May 23, the Sharif News Agency reported that Reza Javad Taqi, one of the high ranking of Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), in an interview with Al Hayat newspaper announced that in near future the SCIRI will go under fundamental changes. He added that the name of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq will be change to the Supreme Council of Iraq.

Mehran Riazaty is a former Iran analyst for the Central Command of the Coalition Forces in Baghdad.
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