“What happened in Iraq yesterday is the continuation of the process of democracy in that country,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said during a press conference on Monday.
“We welcome the successful holding of elections in Iraq. They were held at the right time, and we think the country is on the right path of democracy,” he was quoted by Press TV as saying.
The Iraqi people voted in their country’s parliamentary elections on Sunday to decide the 329 members of the Council of Representatives who will, in turn, elect the president and confirm the prime minister. Initial results were expected Monday.
The vote was originally scheduled to take place next year but was brought forward under a new law designed to help independent candidates, as a response to widespread anti-government protests in 2019.
The electoral commission said the initial turnout was 41%, a little lower than the total turnout in the last election in 2018, which was 44.5%.
At least 167 parties and more than 3,200 candidates are competing for the Iraqi parliament’s 329 seats.
Regarding certain groups that use Iraqi soil as a launching pad to attack Iran, Khatibzadeh said Iran has repeatedly warned the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that hosting anti-Iran bases clashes with the principle of good neighborliness.
He explained that there are bases deep in Iraq, in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, that are used for training armed anti-Iran forces, where they attack Iranian border guards and transfer weapons and military equipment into Iran.
“Those bases must be shut down,” he declared. “Both the [Kurdistan] region and the central government of Iraq know that, and this is our red line. Those bases cannot continue to operate.”
He also asserted that the Islamic Republic acts based on its interests wherever necessary.
On September 9, Iran’s IRGC Ground Forces used combat drones as well as smart and precision-guided artillery to target groups in the rugged mountains of the Kurdistan region, days after warning the KRG against allowing groups to use its territory to pose threats against Iran.
Last week, Khatibzadeh warned that Iran’s “strategic patience” with the Kurdistan-based forces was over and that it would not allow the hosting of anti-Iranian groups to continue any longer.
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