Iraqi president Salih says Iran is a major actor in Middle East
Iraq’s President Barham Salih said that Iran is a major actor in the Middle East that has a lot of commonalities with Iraq.

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday, Salih said that Iraq has long borders with Iran and all kinds of social and cultural interactions, as well as common security interests and the fate of Iran nuclear deal has obviously “consequence to us and consequence to the wider region and indeed the world.”
“There are no military solutions to this,” the Iraqi president said, adding, “We need a diplomatic closure to this stalemate. We need a security arrangement in the Middle East where we come together to combat terrorism which remains a major problem.”
He confirmed Zakaria’s opinion that he meant to say that there should be a nuclear deal and even more than that a kind of broader reconciliation between Iran and the Arabs, or in Salih’s own words “an integration of that part of the world.”
Salih highlighted Iraq’s role as a mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia, saying, “There have been a number of conversations in Baghdad between Iran and other Arab neighbors. And there are some important atmospherics that have improved.”
“At the end of the day we need to sit down at the same table and talk about the problems that are of consequence to our own constituents,” he maintained.
“At the end of the day, yes, America matters. Yes, the world matters. But also, our own priorities in our part of the world matter,” the president went on to say, according to IRNA.
Asked by Zakaria that Saudi Arabia was making an alliance with the Zionist regime and the US, Salih referred to the history of the region, saying that this was “a recipe of repeating the terrible, terrible tragedies of the past” and this part of the world couldn’t go on like this.
“We are blessed with having oil, but we also have very, very serious challenges, economic and social challenges,” he said, “We need infrastructure that can connect our economies together.”
He also underscored “common action against climate change”, as no country in the region, whether Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey or Syria, was able to do it alone.
Salih urged finding a way to bring Syria “back into the fold” and get the country out of the mess that it is today and has been in for so long.
“While we are focused on the headlines of interstate rivalries between Iran, Saudis, this and that,” the president noted, “at the end of the day, there are really big, big challenges confronting each and every state in that part of the world.”
“We don’t want to go back to the days of the past where we are part of axis against another,” he underlined, adding that the region was once in that situation and “paid dearly for it.”
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