Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari’s remarks came with just months to go before the 45,000 US troops stationed in Iraq must withdraw from the country, with several American officials having visited Baghdad last month to press Iraq to decide whether or not it wants an extended US military presence.
“Our region is vital and important for the international economy and any tension will open it to external intervention that will make the area more complicated, and we do not want this,” Zebari said.
“We have the ambition to create a Regional Security Organization to maintain the security of all countries, and achieve security and stability for their people.”
Although Iraq and Iran fought an eight-year war in the 1980s, relations between the Shiite majority neighbors have warmed considerably since the US-led invasion of 2003 ousted Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-dominated regime.
US officials have warned in the past, however, that Iran has supplied training and equipment to Shiite militia groups in the south of Iraq.
All remaining US soldiers currently stationed in Iraq must withdraw from the country by the end of the year, under the terms of a bilateral security pact.
Zebari himself said last summer that Iraqi Security Forces were not yet ready to defend the country on their own, and that US military assistance would be needed until 2020.