NewsSpecial WireIraqi PM delays visit to Iran

Iraqi PM delays visit to Iran

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Iran Focus: London, Jul. 6 – Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari has postponed his official visit to Iran until next week, according to informed sources. No reason has been given for the unexpected decision.
The official Iranian news agency reported that Al-Jaafari would come to Tehran on July 12, while Iraqi Ambassador Mohammad Majid Abbas had said earlier that the Iraqi prime minister was expected in Tehran this week.
Iran Focus

London, Jul. 6 – Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari has postponed his official visit to Iran until next week, according to informed sources. No reason has been given for the unexpected decision.

The official Iranian news agency reported that Al-Jaafari would come to Tehran on July 12, while Iraqi Ambassador Mohammad Majid Abbas had said earlier that the Iraqi prime minister was expected in Tehran this week.

Iranian authorities have been billing the visit as a milestone in warming ties between the two neighbouring countries. Tehran expects ten Iraqi ministers to arrive in the Iranian capital ahead of Al-Jaafari to discuss bilateral ties on a number of issues.

Increasingly closer ties between Iran’s theocratic regime and the Shiite-dominated government in Iraq have raised alarm in other capitals in the region, as Arab governments fear the prospects of the radical Shiite leaders in Tehran dominating Iraqi politics.

“Sunni leaders in the region are very worried about what they see as Iran’s rising influence in Iraq”, Mohammad Sharifzadeh, a Dubai-based business consultant said in a telephone interview. “They see some of the current Iraqi leaders as being Iran’s Trojan horse in Iraq. They are pressing Washington to curb the Iranian ayatollahs’ growing clout in Iraq”.

The sharp emphasis Tehran has been putting on expanding trade with Iraq is also being viewed with deep scepticism by Iraq’s Arabs neighbours and Turkey.

“Iran’s efforts to expand its influence in Iraq have been far more sophisticated than military or espionage activities by the Revolutionary Guards or the Ministry of Intelligence and Security”, Ali Al-Sayegh of the London-based Gulf Intelligence Monitor said. “For months, Iran has been focusing on the use of economic ties with Iraq as a vehicle to raise its influence there. Iranian businesses have been pushing into Iraqi markets very aggressively in recent months.”

“The logic is simple and as old as history in this part of the world,” Al-Sayegh said. “He who controls the souq will control the country”.

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