News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqAhmadinejad to make landmark visit to Iraq-ministry

Ahmadinejad to make landmark visit to Iraq-ministry


Reuters: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accepted an invitation to visit Baghdad, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, a landmark trip that would make him the first leader of Iran to visit its former foe. By Wisam Mohammed

BAGHDAD, Jan 23 (Reuters) – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accepted an invitation to visit Baghdad, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, a landmark trip that would make him the first leader of Iran to visit its former foe.

Iran and Iraq fought an eight-year war in the 1980s in which hundreds of thousands were killed, but relations have improved since Saddam Hussein was ousted in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and a Shi’ite Islamist-led government came to power.

“President Ahmadinejad has accepted an invitation from President (Jalal) Talabani to come to Iraq,” Iraqi deputy Foreign Minister Labeed Abawi told Reuters.

An aide to Ahmadinejad, who asked not to be identified, said: “We have heard about it but no date has been scheduled.”

Both Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have visited Shi’ite Iran, which some Middle East analysts say exerts greater influence in Iraq than the United States.

Ahmadinejad has accepted the invitation at a time of heightened tension between Iran and the United States, which said its warships were threatened by Iranian craft in the Strait of Hormuz earlier this month.

The two countries are also at odds over Tehran’s nuclear programme and what Washington calls Iran’s “negative influence” in Iraq through its arming and training of Shi’ite militias. Iran denies this and says it is committed to peace in Iraq.

Iraq’s U.S.-backed government, still dependent on U.S. forces to protect its borders, has said it does not want to be caught in the middle of any dispute between the two.

The main Shi’ite political blocs in Iraq’s government have enjoyed close ties with Iran in the past and were based there during Saddam’s rule.

There has been tension over the U.S. military’s continued detention of several Iranians. U.S. forces say the Iranians pose a danger to Iraq’s security, but Tehran says they are diplomats or other innocents illegally held by the Americans.

U.S. and Iranian officials were to have held a fourth round of talks in Baghdad in mid-December on curbing violence in Iraq but the meeting was put off. No new date has been set, U.S. embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo said.

The U.S. military said at the weekend there had been a sharp drop in the number of Iranian weapons being used in Iraq but no let-up in Tehran’s training and financing of Iraq militias.

In 1980, a quarrel over the Shatt al-Arab waterway that forms the southern border between Iran and Iraq resulted in one of the deadliest conflicts in Middle East history, the eight-year Iran-Iraq war in which more than 1 million died. (Additional reporting by Tehran bureau, writing by Ross Colvin, editing by Tim Pearce)

Latest news

Iran’s Regime Inches Toward Nuclear Weapons

Iran’s regime is once again at the center of a dangerous escalation of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. A...

US Congress Expresses Support for Iranian People’s Quest for a Democratic, Secular Republic

Several bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives have presented a resolution (H. RES. 100) supporting the Iranian...

Wave Of Poisoning Attacks Against Schools Leave Hundreds Sick

Iran has been shaken for three months by serial poisoning attacks against all-girls schools, which has left more than...

Iranian Security Forces Beat Baluch Doctor To Death

On Thursday, February 23, activists in Sistan and Baluchestan provinces reported the news of the death of Dr. Ebrahim...

World Powers Should Hear The Voice Of Iranians, Not Dictators And Their Remnants

Iran’s nationwide uprising continues despite its ups and down. The clerical system’s demise no longer seems a dream but...

The Rial Continues To Sink, Hits Record 500,000 Marks Against The Dollar

The US dollar increased in price by more than 11 percent in February and grew to more than 500,000...

Must read

Kuwait says would not take part in any Iran attack

Reuters: Kuwait said on Tuesday it would not allow...

U.S. sees sanctions by May; Iran lobbies against West

Reuters: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you