Iraq Foreign Minister: Security deal respects Iran's sovereignty

Other News Materials 18 November 2008 18:40 (UTC +04:00)

Iraq has told Iran that its security pact with the US would not threaten Iran's national sovereignty, Iraq's foreign minister said on Tuesday, reported dpa.

"The security agreement has no articles that threaten the security of neighbouring countries," Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said in a statement following his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hassan Kazemi, according to a ministry statement.

"Iraq will not be used as a base for attacks on neighbouring countries," Zebari added.

Zebari and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker signed the Status of Forces Agreement in Baghdad on Monday.

Iran has opposed the pact, which paves the way for US forces to remain in Iraq until 2011.

The agreement sets the timeframe for the withdrawal of US troops and the legal basis for the future presence of US troops in Iraq after a United Nations Security Council mandate expires at the end of this year. More than 140,000 US troops are currently stationed in Iraq.

Zebari said that the Iraqi government will send delegates to neighbouring countries to explain the security agreement.

Last week Zebari, during a visit to Syria, assured Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem that Iraq will not be used as a base for attacks inside Syria, after the US conducted a commando raid on a Syrian village last month leaving eight civilians dead.

Iran and other neighbouring countries fear that the US could conduct similar operations in the future.