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Iran and Iraq to sign military deal
by reposted
Thursday Jul 7th, 2005 4:43 AM
Former foes Iran and Iraq have said they will sign a military cooperation agreement that will include Iranian help in training Iraq's armed forces.
The agreement marks a considerable advance in relations between the two countries that fought a bitter 1980-1988 war and comes despite repeated US accusations that Iran has undermined security in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

"It's a new chapter in our relations with Iraq. We will start wide defence cooperation," Iranian Defence Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani told a joint news conference with visiting Iraqi counterpart Sadoun al-Dulaimi.

"We're going to form some committees which will be involved in mine clearance, identifying those missing from the war and also ... to help train, rebuild and modernise the Iraqi army," Shamkhani added.

Iran last year offered to train Iraqi border guards, but Baghdad declined the offer.

Meddling accusation

US and Iraqi officials have often accused Iran of stirring up instability in Iraq. Tehran denies meddling in Iraq or helping, arming or letting foreign fighters cross its borders.

Asked about possible US opposition to Iran-Iraq military cooperation, Shamkhani said: "No one can prevent us from reaching an agreement."

Iraq's al-Dulaimi echoed Shamkhani's comments.

"Nobody can dictate to Iraq its relations with other countries," he said.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/A3B7E6C5-B473-4779-8402-8D48A7299A35.htm
by more
Thursday Jul 7th, 2005 5:17 AM
Former enemies Iran and Iraq say they will launch broad military co-operation including training Iraqi armed forces.

"It's a new chapter in our relations with Iraq," said Iranian Defence Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani.

He was speaking at a joint news conference in Tehran with his Iraqi counterpart Saadoun al-Dulaimi.

Relations between the neighbours - who fought a bitter war from 1980 to 1988 - have improved greatly since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

This is the first visit to Iran by an Iraqi military delegation since the war, in which a million people died, started.

The promise of co-operation comes despite repeated accusations by the US - which has about 140,000 troops in Iraq - that Iran has been undermining security there.

"No one can prevent us from reaching an agreement," Mr Shamkhani said when asked about possible US opposition.

Forgiveness

Mr Dulaimi echoed his Iranian counterpart's view about a new era of Iranian-Iraqi ties.

"I have come to Iran to ask forgiveness for what Saddam Hussein has done. The same has to be done with Kuwait and all Saddam Hussein's victims," he told the news conference.

Tehran has asked Baghdad not to allow the US to establish long-term military bases on its soil, fearing that it would consolidate what Iranians see as the American and Israeli military domination of the region.

But Mr Dulaimi insisted that foreign troops were needed to ensure Iraqi security.

He added: "Iraq will not be a source of insecurity and instability for any of its neighbours. Nobody can use [Iraqi territory] to attack its neighbours."

Sensitive issues

Among other areas of co-operation, Mr Shamkhani listed mine clearance, anti-terrorism, identifying those still missing from the Iran-Iraq war and training and re-equipping the Iraqi army.

The two ministers said more sensitive issues such as a full peace treaty and war reparations were still a long way from being resolved.

"We have come to our Iranian brothers to ask them for help and we have not yet started on the more sensitive issues," Mr Dulaimi said.

In May Iran's foreign minister promised to tighten security on the two countries' border on his first visit to Baghdad.

An Iraqi government delegation headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is expected to visit Tehran next week.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4659287.stm