(Photo Credit: The Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign ministry)
The Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian arrived at Iraq’s capital on 22 February and met with high-ranking Iraqi officials to discuss international and regional issues as well as follow up on bilateral discussions.
During Amir-Abdollahian’s meeting with several Iraqi officials, he welcomed Baghdad’s return to its regional role, adding that Iran is “satisfied and content with the fact that the friendly and brotherly country is now in its natural status in the region, given our special relationship with Iraq and the various issues that are on the agenda regarding bilateral relations.”
The Iranian foreign minister was invited to Baghdad for a two-day visit at the request of his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein, aimed at expanding and restoring relations with Iraq.
Amir-Abdollahian also brought up the necessity of finalizing security cooperation documents between Tehran and Baghdad and called for holding an Iran-Iraq joint economic commission within the next year.
He addressed Iran’s issue with Kurdish separatist groups in northern Iraq, calling their recent activities “unacceptable.”
During his visit to Iraq, he also paid a visit to the assassination site of the former Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), who were killed by the US in January 2020.
This meeting comes weeks after Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan visited Baghdad and reviewed the resumption of Saudi-Iranian negotiations under the auspices of the Iraqi government.
Over the past two years, Baghdad has hosted several rounds of negotiations between the Islamic Republic and the kingdom, aimed at restoring ties between the two, which were severed in 2016 after Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr. In response, protesters attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
Earlier this month, Hussein announced his “continued contact with US and Iranian officials,” stressing that reducing tension between Tehran and Washington is in the interest of Iraq, adding that “It’s no secret that I am in contact with Iranian and American officials.”