Iraqi PM Arrives in Tehran

A00905684.jpgIraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, heading a high-ranking delegation, arrived here in Tehran on Wednesday. During the visit which is Maliki’s second since he took office, the Iraqi premier is scheduled to attend meetings with senior Iranian officials to discuss bilateral ties and exchange views about regional and international issues.

A review of the two countries’ political and economic issues and a follow up to the two countries’ previous agreements are included in Maliki’s itinerary, yet, Iraqi Government Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh earlier said that security issues would dominate the talks.

The Iraqi prime minister earlier said that his visit to Iran is aimed at a consolidation of ties with Tehran, in security and economic areas in particular.

Iraq has been a strong advocate of two sets of landmark talks in Baghdad on security in the war-torn country between Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Kazemi Qomi and US ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Washington has accused Iran of fueling the violence in Iraq. Both Tehran and Baghdad have vehemently rejected the allegations.

On Monday Iran and the US held frank and serious security talks chaired by Iraq as they inaugurated a joint security committee aimed at curbing the country’s rampant insurgency.

The Iraqi government hosted the first sub-committee meeting of experts inside the heavily fortified Green Zone compound in the heart of Baghdad.

Iran’s ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Qomi and his US counterpart Ryan Crocker then held follow-up talks hosted by Iraqi national security advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie to review the committee’s work.

The sub-committee talks followed two rounds of ground breaking talks between the Iranian and US ambassadors to Baghdad in May and July to find ways to improve security in Iraq.

In the second round of talks, held on July 24 in Baghdad, representatives from the US, Iran and Iraq agreed to establish a trilateral committee to investigate such issues as support for militias and Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The first round of talks between the two arch foes Tehran and Washington on May 28, which melted the icy relations of the two states after 28 years, was held at ambassadorial level, where Iran’s Hassan Kazemi Qomi and United States’ Ryan Crocker discussed Iraq’s issues, specially the underlying causes of current insecurities in that country.

During the meeting which was held at the home of Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the Iranian and US delegations did not discuss any bilateral issues and focused merely on Iraq’s problems.

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