Iran says envoy’s remarks over Iraq ‘misunderstood’

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman told reporters that remarks by its ambassador to Iraq that were critical of Turkey were misunderstood, state-run Anadolu Agency reported, citing the Iran’s official news agency IRNA. 

Saeed Khatibzadeh at a press conference on Monday defended comments given by Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, who accused Turkey of disrespecting Iraqi sovereignty with its military operations. 

Khatibzadeh said that the two countries are on the same page following discussions. 

"Both Iran and the governments of Turkey, agrees on the protection of national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq which is the basic principle of international relations. The misunderstandings in the Iranian ambassador's statement occurred, and this situation was resolved with the talks," he was quoted as saying. 

On Sunday, Iran and Turkey summoned their respective ambassadors for a brow beating over a series of statements accusing the other of disrespecting Iraq’s borders. Turkey’s own ambassador to Iraq said over Twitter Iran was not in a position to lecture Turkey on interfering beyond its own borders. 

Iran’s criticism came following a failed Turkish hostage rescue mission on February 13 in the Gare mountain range in northern Iraq. The raid against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) failed, resulting in the deaths of 13 Turkish hostages, and Ankara promised more actions. 

The PKK is a recognised terrorist group in the United States, Turkey and the European Union (EU). It has waged a violent insurgency against Turkey since 1984 and is believed to be headquartered in northern Iraq. 

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticised Turkey’s policy inside Iraq after the raid and Iranian-backed militias vowed to prevent another incursion from across the Turkish border.