Monday, November 21, 2005

Iraqi president to visit Iran

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
November 21, 2005

Teheran - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will visit Iran on Monday, the news agency Fars reported.

Talabani will arrive in Teheran on Monday afternoon for a three-day visit and meet with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, Fars said.

Top of the agenda will be border security, Iran's role in the reconstruction process of Iraq, Iranian pilgrimage to holy Shiite shrines in southern Iraq and discussion of difference over Iranian support for insurgents which Teheran has constantly denied.

Ahmadinejad last week met visiting Iraqi National Security head Mowafak al-Rabii and reiterated Iran's will to help Iraq in all fields needed to reconstruct and modernise the war-shattered country.

Border security is one of the most sensitive issues discussed by the two leaders, with Teheran asking Iraq to prevent any infiltration by Iraq-based Iranian militant group MKO. In return, Baghdad demanded that Teheran prevent al-Qaeda-related groups such as al-Ansar Hezbollah from entering Iraqi soil via Iran.

Iran also plans to construct an oil pipeline between the southern Iraqi city of Basra and the bordering Iranian Persian Gulf port of Abadan in about ten months. Iraqi crude oil would then be transferred to Abadan for refining and returned to Basra in form of light oil and petrol.

After the fall of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the two neighbouring Moslem states decided to forget the past which also included the 1980-1988 war with hundreds of thousands of war dead on both sides and vast damages to border areas, and to start a new era.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Iran, Iraq sign security co-op agreement

Xinhua News Agency
November 18, 2005

TEHRAN, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Iran and Iraq here on Thursday signed an agreement on bolstering security cooperation, the official IRNA news agency reported on Friday.

The agreement was inked by Iranian Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani and visiting Iraqi National Security Advisor Mowaffaq al-Rubaie on Thursday night.

Under the agreement, the two sides will work together for handling security-related issues and holding training courses in the field, said IRNA.

"If the security pact is put into practice, it will help Iraq restore stability," Larijani was quoted as saying.

"Further Tehran-Baghdad cultural, political, and economic cooperation would also help allay the concerns of the Iranian people about the presence of some political opposition groups in Iraq," Larijani said, referring to the Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) members active in Iraq.

Iran has accused the United States of granting protected status to the anti-government MKO, well-known for its responsibility in the 1981 bombing attack, which killed the then Iranian President Mohammad-Ali Rajaei and Premier Mohammad-Javad Bahonar.

Iran and Iraq fought a disastrous war from 1980 to 1988, during which totally more than 500,000 people were killed.

The downfall of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein paved the way to the normalization of relations between the two once hostile neighbors.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari paid a landmark official visit to Iran in mid-July, opening a new chapter in bilateral relations.