0229 GMT January 17, 2019
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always supported Iraq’s democracy, territorial integrity, and national sovereignty, and backs decisions made by the people’s elected representatives,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday, Press TV reported.
He expressed hope that a new Iraqi president and a new prime minister would also be elected soon in order to prepare the ground for the formation of a new and popular Iraqi government.
Earlier in the day, Iraq’s Parliament elected Halbousi, former governor of the western province of Anbar, as speaker, making the first step towards forming a new government four months after national elections.
Halbousi, who had previously served in Iraq’s Parliament, from 2014 to 2017, tallied 169 votes to beat out former defense minister Khalid al-Obaidi’s 89, according to lawmaker Husham al-Suhail.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also on Saturday offered his congratulations to Halbousi, expressing hope that parliamentary relations between the two countries would be further expanded during his tenure.
He added that the Iranian government, Parliament and people attach special importance to relations with the Iraqi nation.
“God willing, we will witness development, prosperity and peace for the decent Iraqi nation after further establishment of security in that country,” the top Iranian parliamentarian said.
Iraqi lawmakers must next elect a new president and task the leader of the largest bloc to form a government as prime minister.
The country’s main political alliances led by Muqtada Sadr’s Sairoon bloc and the Fatah Alliance led by commander Hadi al-Amiri are expected to cooperate to form a new government.
Any new government has to move quickly to address the country’s chronic woes, including the poor quality of basic services as well as political and economic mismanagement. It would also have to face the mammoth task of rebuilding the country following three years of struggle against the Daesh terrorist group.