12132017Wed

Surprise Visit To Iran By Iraq Vice President

AFP: Iraqi Vice President Ibrahim al-Jafari made a surprise visit to Iran on Tuesday to meet officials of the Islamic republic, state television announced.
Jafari held talks with President Mohammad Khatami during his impromptu visit, which had not been announced by either side, the TV said, showing pictures of Jafari in the northeastern Shiite holy city of Mashhad. AFP

TEHRAN - Iraqi Vice President Ibrahim al-Jafari made a surprise visit to Iran on Tuesday to meet officials of the Islamic republic, state television announced.

Jafari held talks with President Mohammad Khatami during his impromptu visit, which had not been announced by either side, the TV said, showing pictures of Jafari in the northeastern Shiite holy city of Mashhad.

The visit came at a time when both sides are trying to mend fences after a certain tension in the past two weeks.

Iraqi officials have joined the Americans in accusing Iran of getting involved in the Shiite rebellion and even of arming rebels. Shiites are the majority of the population in both neighbouring countries.

The press has made much of the arrests and apparent kidnapping of Iranians in Iraq.

The Baghdad bureau chief of the Iranian news agency, IRNA, was arrested along with two of his staff on August 9 and an Iranian diplomat disappeared on the road between Baghdad and Karbala. Tehran warned the interim government that it holds them responsible for the safety of all four men.

No date has yet been set for a visit to Tehran by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who has been officially invited by Iran.

Baghdad rejected calls by Tehran on Tuesday for an emergency regional summit to discuss the fighting in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, which is a major Iranian preoccupation.

"It is a domestic matter which must be solved in keeping with the law and sovereignty of the state. That is why Iraq will not join any attempt to internationalise the matter," said Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

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