Iran will help Iraq overcome its current security crisis and will not allow the fall of Baghdad, a senior Iranian military leader has pledged in secret talks with the Iraqi Shi-ite coalition.
Details of the meeting from June 22 to 25 were revealed by a leading figure in Shi'ite Moqtada al-Sadr group in a report by Kuwaiti Daily al-Seyassa.
According to the report, Iranian Qods Force commander General Qassem Suleimani told Iraq's Shia leaders that IRGC would help the Iraqi security forces to achieve victory 'decisively and rapidly', and that the Iranian leadership represented by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei 'would not allow the fall of Baghdad'.
Suleimani also stressed to leaders of the Shi'ite alliance that the election of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to a third term in office was 'vital to confront the terrorist groups', and any efforts to replace Maliki would be considered that a weakness, the Sadr group said.
Suleimani said: "To accept the removal of Maliki is like saying to the terrorists that we do what they want. If the circumstances were different, it would be possible to search for a prime minister other than Maliki, but the challenges facing the Iraqi government do preclude al-Maliki leaving power when unity is needed in your country."
Suleimani also warned Shiite leaders about revealing any divisions in government or making remarks that would show that there is a split on al-Maliki, and called on them to uphold the unity of the Shiite alliance.
Interview with former Iranian political prisoner Mostafa Naderi