Friday, May 26, 2006

Iran FM begins first Baghdad trip


Iran's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, is due in Iraq for talks with top Iraqi officials.

He is the first senior Iranian to visit Iraq since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the newly-formed Iraqi government came to power.

The two nations fought an eight-year war in the 1980s and relations remain complex, despite improving dramatically since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Tehran is strongly opposed to the presence of US forces in Iraq.

Nevertheless it retains considerable influence there, partly due to historical ties with Iraq's Shia parties and groups, some of whom took refuge in Iran during Saddam Hussein's rule.

Little has been said about the agenda for these talks.

But Mr Mottaki's visit comes against a backdrop of increasing sectarian violence in Iraq and security issues are likely to be high on the priority list.

No comments: