Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has no right to interfere in relations between Iran and Iraq.
Zarif made the remarks following a business forum in the Iraqi city of Najaf on Thursday, adding that Iran's relations with Iraq, unlike those of certain other states, are "not fake."
“We and Iraq have had relationship [even] before the existence of the United States,” said Zarif, adding that Iran’s cooperation with Iraq will continue, IRNA reported.
Zarif arrived in Iraq on Sunday for talks with senior officials in Baghdad and the country's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region on ways to enhance cooperation in different areas, over a year after Iraq managed to clear its entire soil of Daesh terrorists on the back of a Tehran-backed military campaign.
The Iranian minister further highlighted the contrast between Pompeo's recent unannounced visit to Iraq and that of his own.
He described his trip to Iraq as his "lengthiest ever" visit to a foreign country, hailing it as a sign of "special relations" between the two nations.
"I can confidently say that Iran-Iraq relations have a bright future," the minister said, Press TV reported.
"The affinities between the Iranian and Iraqi nations are cultural and historical. The blood of their youths has mingled amid their fight against terrorism; therefore, no power can divide them," he added.
"Outsiders forced their way into this region one day, but they will eventually leave. It is the regional nations that will remain," said Zarif. "We must not allow the parties that do not favor better conditions for us to hinder Iran-Iraq relations."
Zarif's visit follows that of Pompeo, who visited Baghdad and Erbil as part of a seven-day tour of the Middle East, which had a hostile anti-Iran agenda.
Prior to Pompeo, US President Donald Trump had paid a controversial secret visit to American troops in Iraq, which triggered wave of condemnations from the Arab country’s political and military leaders.
In Iraq, Pompeo made no official mention of Iran, but he repeatedly attacked Iran in his other destinations.
Pompeo described the US as a “force for good” in the Middle East, and accused former US President Barack Obama of having sowed chaos by abandoning the Middle East.