Iran Focus: Iraq’s interim Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh is expected to visit Iran Saturday following a barrage of criticisms directed at the Tehran regime from Iraq’s most senior government officials. Iran Focus

TEHRAN, Aug 27 - Iraq’s interim Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh is expected to visit Iran Saturday following a barrage of criticisms directed at the Tehran regime from Iraq’s most senior government officials.

It is expected that he will discuss the security situation in Najaf and the surrounding regions where continuous clashes have resulted in the province coming to a standstill, and where Iranian agents are thought to be involved in carrying out attacks against the Iraqi security forces.

Iraqi officials have joined the Americans in accusing Iranian-backed agents of getting involved in the fierce Shiite rebellion and even of supplying the rebels with arms.

Many western observers view Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s return to Najaf and the 5-point peace plan drawn yesterday as a great setback for the Iranian regime in its attempts to gain control over the holy Shiite city. Shiites constitute the majority of the population in both Iran and Iraq.

Iran has also officially invited Iraq’s interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi for a visit but Allawi’s aides announced earlier this month that he had cancelled his trip “to show the dismay of his government at the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq.”