On February 12, 2017, the Iranian Tasnim news agency, which is close to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, published an "exclusive interview," datelined Baghdad and titled "Iraqi President Lauds Iran's Timely Support, Backs General Soleimani." In it, Iraqi President Fouad Masoum, according to the interview's introduction, "hailed Iran for the effectual supports it has provided for the Arab country in the fight against terrorism [and stressed] that Iranian [IRGC] commander General Qassem Soleimani is in Iraq as part of Baghdad's plans to get help from foreign military advisors."
Iraqi President Fouad Masoum in interview. Source: Tasnim, February 12, 2017
The following are excerpts from the article, in the original English:
According to Tasnim, in the "exclusive interview," President Masoum "expressed his views on a range of issues, including the ties with Iran and the future of the Iraqi armed forces after an ultimate victory against Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group...
"Asked about his view on Tehran-Baghdad relations, the Iraqi president said the ties between the two neighbors 'have gone beyond ordinary political relations, and we have taken advantage of these ties to achieve our purposes. We have always gained benefits from ties with Tehran, either during our struggles against Saddam's dictatorship or after 2003.
"'We see no obstacle to Iraq becoming a major trade market for Iran, and as I said before, it is important for us to make use of Iran's economic capabilities and experience," Masoum pointed out...
"He further pointed to the plans to increase the efficiency of the Hashd Al-Shaabi forces (Popular Mobilization Units), arguing, 'Hashd Al-Shaabi forces should be given more attention. There are a number of forces that are not officially members of Hashd Al-Shaabi and are less committed to the law; this issue needs more attention. Hashd Al-Shaabi has been a basic force in the fight against terrorists and has served Iraq a lot, but at the same time, there needs to be a special military organization of its forces to prevent the membership of other people in its body, so that the image of its real forces would not be harmed. Without Hashd Al-Shaabi, Daesh could have reached Karbala and even Baghdad,' the president noted.
"Finally, Masoum hailed the prominent role of commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, saying, 'We have been in need of these (Iranian) supports and their (Iran's) capabilities and expertise, which have had an influential role in our victories in the war against Daesh. The presence of General Soleimani is also in line with plans for the presence of foreign military advisors in Iraq. The U.S. and other European countries have also military advisors in Iraq, so one cannot say that Iranian military advisors are not allowed in Iraq. This is a common issue in our view, and Iran has the same rights as the other countries.
"'The Iranian nation is a friend and brother nation. We have a lot in common with our brothers in Iran. Cultural commonalities and hundreds of kilometers of common border necessitate taking more important steps to strengthen Baghdad-Tehran relations,' he concluded."
 Tasnimnews.com, February 12, 2017. The original English has been very lightly edited for standardization.