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Iran's security chief in Iraq after Saudi détente, UAE talks

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani (L) meets with his Iraqi counterpart, Qassim al-Araji, upon arrival at Baghdad airport on March 19, 2023.

The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) has traveled to Baghdad to hold talks with Iraqi officials and sign a joint security cooperation document, following his landmark trips to China and the United Arab Emirates.

Heading a delegation, Ali Shamkhani was welcomed by his Iraqi counterpart, Qassim al-Araji, at Baghdad airport on Sunday.

He also paid a visit to the site where Iran’s legendary anti-terror commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were assassinated by the US three years ago.

Shamkhani is expected to meet with top Iraqi political and economic officials and sign a joint security cooperation document that has been discussed for several months.

The signing of the document, which reinforces mutual responsibility and commitment with the aim of protecting good neighborliness and securing common borders, plays a key role in ending the illegal presence of armed counter-revolutionary elements and those affiliated with the Israeli regime in Iran’s northwestern borders.

Shamkhani recently represented Iran in the China-hosted talks that led to the restoration of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia after seven years of estrangement.

He also visited the UAE upon an invitation by Emirati National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

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