World News

Iran's Rouhani urges Pakistan to act against group behind border attack

Iran's Rouhani urges Pakistan to act against group behind border attack

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani arrived Monday in Iraq for his first official visit, as Baghdad comes under pressure from Washington to limit political and trade ties with its neighbour.

"We have important projects that will be discussed during this visit", he also said.

Tehran sees the US military presence at its doorstep in Iraq as a threat - one that could also undermine Iran's influence over Baghdad.

Hosseini pointed to a 32-strong delegation of Iranian private sector's business people accompanying President Hassan Rouhani in an ongoing trip to Iraq, saying the presidential visit will produce ideal results for the private sector.

"We are very much interested to expand our ties with Iraq, particularly our transport cooperation", Rouhani said at Tehran's Mehrabad airport.

Iran has close but complicated relations with Baghdad.

The visit also sends a strong message to Washington and its regional allies that, in the face of US sanctions, Iran still plays a dominant role in Iraqi politics.

More news: Cardinal George Pell Sentenced To Six Years In Prison

Iran and Iraq have come a long way since the 1980s, when under dictator Saddam Hussein Iraq waged a bloody eight-year war against Iran, a conflict that left almost 1 million killed on both sides.

The Iranian leader asked Pakistan to rein in terror groups on its territory and said a number of terror attacks in the country have been traced to across the border in Pakistan. But since the US -led invasion of Iraq in 2003, which ousted Hussein, Iran has bolstered its influence much to the chagrin of the United States.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan he is awaiting action to be made against these terrorists. They included agreements on oil, trade, health, and a railway linking the southern Iraqi oil city of Basra and the Iranian border town of Shalamcheh.

Sistani, who is Iranian, is opposed to the contested Shiite Muslim doctrine known as wilayat al-faqih, which is the foundation of the clerical-ruled government in Iran.

The visit will mark the third trip to Iraq by an Iranian president since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran also sees Iraq as a possible route to bypass USA sanctions that Trump re-imposed past year after pulling the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. Foodstuff, livestock, construction material and plastic products constitute the bulk of Iran's exports to Iraq. Tehran hopes to increase the roughly $13 billion volume in trade between the two neighbouring countries to $20 billion.

Mr Rouhani's visit also indicates how relations between the two states have changed. Also, some 5 million religious tourists bring in almost $5 billion a year as Iraqis and Iranians visit Shiite holy sites in the two countries.


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