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Iraqi PM Visits Iran Amid Regional Tensions


Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maleki and his delegation entered Iran today for a two-day visit.

The Fars News Agency reports that the Iraqi Prime Minister is scheduled to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the head of Parliament, Ali Larijani, and Saeed Jalili, the head of Iran’s Supreme Council of National Security and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator.

The nuclear negotiations between the G5+1 and Iran are to continue at the end of May in Baghadad, following the recent meeting in Istanbul on April 14.

Today’s trip also comes at a time of rising tensions between Iraq and Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Iraq’s Maleki of fomenting sectarian tensions among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq, and Maleki has referred to Turkey as Iraq’s enemy.

Meanwhile, some Iraqi politicians, including Ayyad Allawi, have warned against Iran’s growing influence in Iraq, saying that Iran stands to gain the most from the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Maleki last visited Iran a year and a half ago. Since then, Iraqi relations with Iran have grown significantly, with trade exceeding $10 billion.

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