Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad on July 18, 2013.
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the Islamic Republic sees no limits to the expansion of all-out ties with neighboring Iraq, adding that the bilateral ties are crucial to stability and prosperity of the region.
Tehran and Baghdad plan to further develop their already close cooperation in the fields of engineering services, energy and electricity, Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad on Thursday.
“Today, everyone is convinced that regional progress and security hinge on cooperation and joint efforts by Iran and Iraq,” the Iranian president added.
Regional and international developments in recent years have provided an opportunity for both Iran and Iraq to bolster cooperation in all arenas, he added.
The Iraqi premier, for his part, said his country seeks to boost ties with all friendly countries in the region, including Iran.
Maliki added that Tehran and Baghdad enjoy numerous commonalities, saying that Iraq is not bound by any confines in promoting cooperation with Iran, particularly in the energy and electricity sectors.
Meanwhile, in a separate meeting with Iraqi Vice-President Khazir al-Khazai, the Iranian president also said the enhancement of mutual ties would serve the interests of the nations in the region and the entire Muslim world as well as the Iranian and Iraqi people.
“Whenever the Iranian and Iraqi nations stood by each other, no foreign power could damage their relations,” Ahmadinejad stated.
The Iraqi vice-president, for his part, said Tehran and Baghdad have common ground in a whole range of areas and can play a leading role in the region and the world.
He expressed hope that the Iranian president’s visit to Baghdad would further strengthen solidarity and unity between the two countries.
President Ahmadinejad arrived in Iraq on Thursday at the head of a high-ranking delegation for an official two-day visit aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries. The outgoing Iranian president is also expected to pay a visit to the holy Iraqi cities of Karbala and Najaf.
On July 14, Maliki’s spokesman, Ali Mussawi, said Ahmadinejad had been invited by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, but he would be hosted by Khazai, as Talabani is under medical treatment abroad.
The Iraqi president, who suffered a stroke in December 2012, has been absent from the country’s political scene, receiving treatment in Germany.