Ahmadinejad plans to visit Iraq

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning to make his first visit to Iraq, the highest-level trip by an Iranian leader since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Ahmadinejad plans to visit Iraq
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning to make his first visit to Iraq, the highest-level trip by an Iranian leader since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki invited Ahmadinejad after he visited Tehran earlier this month, the ISNA student news agency reported.

"This invitation has been accepted, and the preparation is underway. When the trip becomes definite, we will make an announcement," Mottaki said in Iran's holy second city of Mashhad late Sunday.

Mottaki visited Iraq himself in May 2006, while Iran's top national security official Ali Larijani traveled to the conflict-torn country in April 2007.

However, neither Ahmadinejad nor his predecessor Mohammad Khatami have visited Iraq since the toppling of Saddam in 2003.

Such a visit would emphasize the strong relations between Tehran and the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, which have caused considerable unease in Washington.

The United States accuses Iran of helping supply sophisticated tank-penetrating bombs into Iraq for attacks against US troops, and helping train Shiite militias. Iran denies the charges.

US President George W. Bush publicly contradicted reported comments by Maliki during his trip that Iran was playing a constructive role in Iraq, saying he would have a "heart-to-heart" with the prime minister.

Iraq President Jalal Talabani has been a frequent visitor to Tehran, his last trip coming in June.

Maliki made his first official trip to Iran in September 2006, while the first visit by an Iraqi premier since the fall of Saddam was made by Maliki's predecessor, Ibrahim Al Jaafari, in July 2005.

Iran and Iraq waged a war between 1980 and 1988 in which around 1 million people died, but the fall of Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime led to a transformation in ties.

AFP
Last Mod: 20 Ağustos 2007, 20:24
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