Tabnak – In the third day of his official visit to Iraq, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with the high-ranking Iraqi cleric Ayatollah Ali Sistani. The meeting is said to have sent a powerful message to Tehran’s regional and trans-regional rivals of the level of the Islamic Republic’s religious influence in the neighboring Arab country.
According to the Iranian media, in a historic meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has held talks with Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the holy city of Najaf on the final day of his landmark visit to the neighboring Arab state.
Rouhani sat down with Ayatollah Sistani at his residence on Wednesday after visiting the shrine of Imam Ali (PBUH) – the first Imam of Shia Muslims. Rouhani is the first Iranian president ever to have met with Ayatollah Sistani.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Ambassador to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi were also present at the meeting. So far, there have been no reports about what has been discussed at the meeting. Journalists and photographers are rarely let into Ayatollah Sistani’s meetings.
Before the meeting, Rouhani had visited the holy shrine of the first Shiite imam, Imam Ali (AS), after arriving in Najaf on Wednesday.
Separately, in an address to a group of Iraqi elites, nomads, and religious leaders on Tuesday, the Iranian president highlighted the strong bonds between the Iranian and Iraqi nations, saying, “The fact that millions of Iranians travel to Iraq, especially Karbala and Najaf, in a year, indicates that the two nations are completely united in terms of culture and beliefs.”
“No power can separate this united community,” he underscored, adding, “We consider this land as the land of jihad, martyrdom, self-sacrifice and devotion.”
“The people of Iraq, especially Karbala, warmly welcome Iranian pilgrims during Arbaeen and I would like to thank them on behalf of the Iranian nation,” the president’s website quoted him as saying.
In the same vein, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani hailed the country’s close relations with neighboring Iraq and said the ties today are the outcome of resistance of the two nations and their strategic alliance.
In a speech on Wednesday, Shamkhani highlighted Iran’s achievements gained during the decades after the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and said the country will not content itself with these achievements.
“The fifth decade of the revolution will be one of weathering artificial problems and will include days of great and decisive victory of Iran’s brave nation and the powerful Resistance Front,” he said.
Heading a high-ranking delegation, Rouhani began his official Iraq visit on Monday, which featured several meetings and the signing of memorandums of understanding for the expansion of bilateral ties in various fields.
In a joint statement, the two neighboring states hailed Rouhani's Iraq visit as a “turning point” in efforts to strengthen “strategic” cooperation based on non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.