Iranian parliament speaker arrives in Iraq for talks

2012-11-27 12:20:09 GMT2012-11-27 20:20:09(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BAGHDAD, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani on Tuesday arrived in the city of Najaf to visit the holy Shiite shrines before heading to Baghdad on Wednesday, an official Iraqi television and an official said.

Larijani was received in Najaf airport, some 160 km south of the capital Baghdad, by Iraqi deputy speaker Qusai al-Sehail and the head of Najaf's provincial council Qaid Kadhim, the state-run Iraqia channel said.

Larijani is expected to visit the holy Shiite shrines in Najaf and will meet with top Shiite clerics in the city before heading to the nearby holy Shiite city of Karbala, an official from Najaf provincial council told Xinhua on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

On Wednesday, Larijani will arrive in Baghdad and is expected to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his Iraqi counterpart Osama al-Nujaifi, in addition to other top officials, the official said.

During his visit, the Iranian top official will discuss bilateral ties between the two countries, in addition to the developments in the region, particularly the crisis in Syria, the source added.

Larijani's visit was part of his tour during the past few days in some Middle-East countries including Syria, Turkey and Lebanon.

Relations between the Shiite Muslim country of Iran and the Shiite-dominated government of Iraq have been picked up considerably since Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime was ousted in a U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Iraq and Iran fought a bloody eight-year war in 1980s, resulting in the loss of 1 million lives.

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