Iranian advisor clarifies ‘Baghdad capital of Iranian empire’ remark
Younesi said that he was alluding to cultural similarities with Iraq, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan,
Ali Younisi, Iranian President Hassan Rowhani's adviser on Ethnic and Religious Minorities affairs, clarified a statement made Monday - “Baghdad is now capital of the Iranian empire” - saying Tehran never wants to damage its neighboring country’s sovereignty and independence, Al Alam website reported.
Instead, Younesi said that he was alluding to cultural similarities with Iraq, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan, adding that “unification” of these countries could halt expansionist agendas of powers foreign to the region.
He urged for cultural, economic and political cooperation between these countries, which happened to be part of the Persian empire in the past.
On Wednesday, the Iraqi Foreign ministry condemned Younesi’s statement, local Al Sumaria News reported.
The ministry described Younisi as making an “irresponsible” statement, stressing that Iraq will not allow any country to compromise its national sovereignty.
It also added that Iraq as a sovereign state has “positive relations with neighboring countries, including with Iran.”
Younisi reportedly made his controversial statement Monday during a conference in Tehran when he said Iran since its inception was an “empire” and that “Baghdad has become part of this empire.”
He also said “Iraq is not only culturally part of its influence, but it is the [Iranian empire] identity and its capital today… We cannot leave this issue since geographical and cultural relations are ongoing and its demise is possible. We either agree or we will fight.”
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