Iraqi PM meets Iran’s president in Tehran; both agree to lift visas

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi sit during their meeting in Tehran, Iran, September 12, 2021. (AP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran on Sunday, agreeing to lift visas for both countries’ citizens.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi accompanied by a high-level delegation arrived Iran on Sunday morning to hold talks with senior Iranian officials, including President Ibrahim Raisi.

Television showed the Iraqi premier welcomed by a guard honor, before immediately beginning a meeting that IRNA news agency said touched on “questions of mutual and international interest”.

The two countries are determined to expand relations beyond the level of two ordinary neighbors, Raisi said in a joint press conference.

“Visa wavier for citizens of both countries was Prime Minister’s good news,” the Iranian president said.

“The will of Iran and Iraq to develop the railway corridor and accelerate the construction of the Shalamcheh-Basra railway is also a good step that we hope will be done quickly,” he added.

Kadhimi also said a series of issues of mutual interest was discussed in the meeting with Raisi, praising Iran for its efforts to encourage dialogue.

He added that they discussed the development of trade cooperation between the two countries.

A government source said on Friday that Kadhimi would raise “issues of security energy, and relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran” with Raisi.

As Iran’s neighbor to the west, Iraq has sought a mediating role between Tehran and Arab nations.

Since April, it has tried to broker talks with Saudi Arabia to soothe tensions between the regional rivals.

Oil-rich Iraq has been caught for years in a delicate balancing act between its two main allies, the United States and neighboring Iran.

The Islamic republic exerts major clout in Iraq through allied armed groups within the Hashid al-Shaabi, a powerful state-sponsored paramilitary network.

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