Speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Hassan Danaeifar assessed the visit of the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Fuad Hussein, to Tehran in line with the two countries ongoing visits and consultations, and said: It was the third visit of the Iraqi official to Tehran this year and the fourth together with a delegation and this number of visits indicates the diverse and extensive relations that exist between the two countries.
Referring to the issues on the agenda of the trip and the consultations held to deepen relations between the two countries, he added: Numerous commonalities and overlaps between the two countries in various bilateral and international areas require the two countries to move in the right direction so that their national interests are well preserved. In the negotiations, various issues were raised, the main one being Iran’s demands from the gas and electricity sales; and as we have seen, the head of TBA Bank, which is the broker bank in this issue, was also a member of the delegation.
Danaeifar added: The talks also focused on economic relations in various fields, including electricity and the commercial and banking sectors, and the two sides discussed the process to remove the existing barriers to banking transactions.
Referring to the US illegal military attacks on positions in Iraq and Syria, the former Iranian diplomat mentioned the issue of cooperation between the two countries in the field of security issues as other topics of negotiations and said: The need for peace in the region has always been emphasized by Iran and the Iraqi officials are interested in making efforts for greater security in the region, given their position and connections with the regional and trans-regional parties.
Danaeifar referred to the consultations on the Iraqi government’s preparations for holding early parliamentary elections, adding: Iraq continues to face the terrorist group ISIS, and any action that harms the security and stability of the country complicates the matter. In this regard, Iraq emphasizes the need for continuous cooperation and consultations with Iran.
Saying that the wide and diverse relations between the two countries definitely need to be followed up and consulted continuously, he added: The two countries are determined to remove the obstacles that hinder joint activities; this issue has also been emphasized in connection with the results of the meetings of Iraq-Iran Joint Commission and implementation of the existing memoranda of understanding.
Referring to the political consultations between Iran and Iraq, the former Iranian ambassador to Baghdad said: Efforts have been made before the current government and later in the current Iraqi government to play a mediating role between Iran and Saudi Arabia and Iran welcomed it. During the memorable and bitter trip which led to the assassination of Sardar Qassem Soleimani, the great martyr of the Iranian nation, one of his missions included discussions between the Prime Minister and himself regarding a kind of understanding with the Saudis. It seems that the Americans could not tolerate the issue and created that bitter incident.
Saying that Iraq is interested to take measures in this regard and Iran has announced readiness, he added: Iran and Saudi Arabia have great potentials in the region, and we can use the economic, political and cultural potentials in the region.
The analyst of international affairs, referring to some political and media attempts to disrupt relations between the two countries, clarified about the consequences of such negotiations and said: This kind of travels removes the ambiguities or atmosphere created against the good relations between the two countries. Naturally, trips at the level of the foreign minister gives the message that our relations have a good and promising trend.
Describing the economic consultations between Iran and Iraq during Fuad Hussein’s visit to Tehran, Danaeifar said: The problem in payments to Iran is due to the illegal pressure that the Americans are putting on Iraq; in other words, the Iraqi government paid the money it should have paid, but it has not been transferred to the account of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This shows that the Iraqis have no problem in this regard.
He added: The problem is in the pressures that the Americans are putting on the banking system. During the visit, the Iraqi Foreign Minister expressed the hope that this issue would be resolved in the coming days, given the developments that will take place, noting that we are waiting for concrete actions from the broker banks.