TEHRAN, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Iranian security chief Hassan Rohani Monday criticized Muslim extremist groups operating in Iraq, saying they hurt the interests of Muslim countries.
The Iranian News Agency, IRNA, quoted the head of the Higher Council for National Security in Iraq as saying such organizations as al-Qaida and Ansar al-Islam have been engaged in terrorist activities which are harming the national interests of both Iraq and Iran.
"Terrorism undermines the region's security and we need to cooperate to combat that evil," Rohani said after a meeting with visiting Iraqi Deputy Prime Pinister Barham Saleh.
He said Iranian and Iraqi security were "entwined" and Iraq's national security "could only be preserved by the withdrawal of foreign forces as soon as possible."
On his part, Saleh said "security cooperation between Iran and Iraq is of special importance," stressing that "Iraq will not serve as the source for any terrorist action or threat against Iran."
Saleh also called on Iraq's neighbors to help the Iraqi government combat terrorism and demanded an international conference to discuss the crisis in Iraq and find solutions for it.