Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday Iraq’s territorial integrity and stability were in the interest of all countries in the region.
Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Istanbul Thursday on a two-day working visit, made the remarks at a press conference in the Turkish largest city, reported Turkey’s semi-official Anatolia news agency.
When America leaves the region, there will be a power vacuum in Iraq, which “should be filled by free countries,” Ahmadinejad told the reporters, adding that “regional countries are capable to do it. We all need to protect the Iraqi state.”
”I have never said Iran would move in to Iraq when America left the country. I have just said America is aggressive and it is cruel. And it will have to exit from Iraq soon,” stressed the Iranian president.
Responding to why a number of agreements signed on Thursday between Turkey and Iran did not include an expected deal of energy cooperation, Ahmadinejad said such an agreement could be signed in a short time.
”This issue was underlined during our talks yesterday. Natural gas and oil agreements take time because they need investment,” the Iranian president said.
”Turkey is one of most important routes for Iran to transport the Iranian gas to Europe and officials from our two countries are continuing their negotiations,” he said.
Turkey is completely dependent on energy imports to quench its increasing thirst for oil and gas as its industry expands. Iran is currently its second biggest supplier of gas after Russia. Turkey is also a major transit route for goods between the European Union(EU) and Iran.
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