Iran will protect holy Shia shrines in Iraq: Rouhani

Published June 18th, 2014 - 12:11 GMT

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says the Muslim Iraqi nation will push back terrorists and their supporters, stressing that the Islamic Republic will spare no effort to protect holy shrines in Iraq.

“These terrorist groups and those who are supporting them, both in the region and across the world, are no match for the Muslim people of this land [Iraq] and they will repel them, God willing,” Rouhani said in an address to the people of western Iranian province of Lorestan on Wednesday.

He added that all superpowers, mercenaries and terrorists should know that the great Iranian nation make every effort to safeguard holy shrines in the Iraqi cities of Karbala, Najaf, Kadhimiya and Samarra.

President Rouhani noted that numerous people in Iran have expressed readiness to travel to Iraq to defend the shrines of Shia Imams there and counter terrorists.

He added that Iraqi volunteers from Shia, Sunni and Kurd groups are already prepared to stand up to the ISIL Takfiri militants.

On June 10, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants captured Mosul, the province of Nineveh Province, after soldiers and police forces fled en masse, which was followed by the capture of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of the capital Baghdad.

Iraqi forces continue their battle against the ISIL Takfiri group as the militants are advancing in Iraq and threatening to take their acts of violence to several Iraqi cities, including Baghdad.

Influential Iraqi Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, on June 11 called for the formation of a special force to defend religious sites in Iraq.

Sadr, who once ran the powerful Mahdi Army, said in a statement that he was ready to help create “peace units to defend the holy sites of both Muslims and Christians in Iraq, in cooperation with the government.”

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