Iran and Iraq on Tuesday signed an MoU to broaden defense cooperation to fight ISIL militants.
According to the MoU signed by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and his visiting Iraqi counterpart Khalid al-Obeidi in Tehran, Iran will continues training of Iraqi units. The Iranian and Iraqi defense ministers also underlined the need to continue consultations and exchange visits to help maintain security in the region, the Iranian news agency, FNA reported.
The Iraqi defense minister arrived in Tehran on Monday to discuss on the expansion of Tehran-Baghdad security cooperation and coordination. Iran is helping its former adversary with weapons and intelligence to combat the ISIS which has gained control over large swathes of Iraq.
In another development, the head of Iraq's al-Anbar Salvation Council, Sheikh Hamid al-Hais lauded Iran's assistance to his country in fighting terrorism, describing Tehran as a reliable military partner.
"This is the right of al-Anbar province's tribal leaders to ask for assistance from any side to supply their necessary weapons for fighting the ISIL," Hais told FNA on Wednesday. "Given its military assistance provided to the Iraqis, Iran is considered as a more reliable and closer side to us," he added.
In November, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Brigadier General Esmayeel Qa'ani said Baghdad remained untouched by ISIL terrorist group due to Iran's support and assistance."The ISIL terrorists sought to surround Baghdad but they failed in reaching their ominous goals thanks to Iran's supports," Qa'ani said in North Khorassan province.
Also last month, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi underlined the country's readiness to send weapons and equipment to Iraq to help its neighbor in campaign on terrorism. "Since security of our country and Iraq is interwoven and we couldn’t remain indifferent to the cruelty against them, our skilled people and a number of brave Iranian commanders went to Iraq to provide Iraqi commanders with advice and consultations and help them," Firouzabadi told reporters in Tehran.
Iran was ready to dispatch any humanitarian aid needed by Iraq, and we are ready to send weapons and other equipment to that country through legal channels once requested by the Iraqi government, he added. "We assume Iran's increased support for the Iraqi armed forces as a strategic necessity," he said.
In December, Iranian fighter planes bombed several Islamic State positions in Diyala province in eastern Iraq, leading US and Iranian officials to quickly deny that there has been any coordination between the two countries regarding military actions inside Iraq.
On Monday a funeral was held in Tehran for a top Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander who was killed in Samarra, a town north of Baghdad and home to a major Shiite shrine. Brig. Gen. Hamid Taqavi was "martyred while performing his advisory mission" in Samarra, state TV said. He is the highest-ranking Iranian officer known to have been killed abroad since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, in which he fought.
Also on Tuesday, a high-ranking official in the Iranian-backed Badr Brigades, Karim Nouri, said his fighters had pushed Islamic State militants out of the area south of Tikrit.
He told Iraqi News that "security forces backed by the people managed at dawn today to liberate Dhuluiya district" and "dozens of ISIS elements were killed or wounded or arrested while others escaped.