TEHRAN, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- One of Iran's top leaders has pledged support for a democratic government in neighboring Iraq.
In a meeting with visiting Iraqi First Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi on Sunday, Iran's Expediency Council Chairman Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said that all Islamic countries in the region should join hands in order to help build an independent and democratic Iraq.
Rafsanjani said the presence of foreign troops in Iraq was the cause of insecurity there. "The Iraqi nation has proven at different times that it can solve problems and run the country on their own," he said.
Rafsanjani said Iran had never refrained from providing assistance to the Iraqi nation and would continue this policy in the future. The foreigners would like to see a government favorable to their interests established in Iraq, but they have encountered trouble in the face of the Islamic sentiments of the Iraqis, he said.
Abdul Mahdi, who was leading high-ranking political and economic Iraqi delegation, said that Iran, as an important country in the region, could play a key role in helping Iraqis reestablish security in their country. He also invited Rafsanjani to visit Iraq and its holy shrines.
Iraq's population is 60 percent Shiite Muslim and shares that faith with neighboring Iran.