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Tehran stands by Iraq in Isis fight

President Rouhani pledges alliance 'till the last day'

IRANIAN President Hassan Rouhani vowed today to stand by Iraq’s government as it battles the Islamic State (Isis) terror group.

Mr Rouhani told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi that Tehran had supported Baghdad “from the first day and will remain on that path until the last day.”

He spoke as Iraq faced a second day of deadly bombings targeting Shi’ite civilians.

Car bombs killed at least 30 people in Baghdad just a day after similar attacks in the Shi’ite holy city of Karbala killed 26. Monday’s total death toll stood at 43 after attacks in other cities were taken into account.

Mr Abadi heaped praise on Iraq’s alliance with Tehran, an unintended consequence of the US-British invasion of 2003 which replaced the secular Saddam Hussein dictatorship with a Shi’ite-oriented regime which views the theocracy in Iran as an ally.

“Choosing Iran as my first destination after taking office indicates the strength of ties,” he said.

“Terrorism is a threat to all regional countries and we are sure Iran will stand by us.”

Iran is providing assistance to both the Iraqi and Syrian governments as they grapple with the Isis insurgency, which has taken control of vast swathes of both countries.

Mr Rouhani called for a “united and co-ordinated” war against Isis, a criticism of the US-led coalition which has gathered a number of European allies and Gulf autocracies under its wing but refuses to co-operate with Damascus.

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