جمعه ۱۹ آذر ۱۳۹۵ تهران ۱۷:۵۳ - ۹ دسامبر ۲۰۱۶
Iran's foreign minister met with Iraq's top Shiite Muslim cleric in Iraq today. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the city of Najaf, some 160 kilometers south of Baghdad. No details were available about the meeting's agenda.
Kharrazi's visit comes amid worsening tension in Iraq after a bloody upsurge in killings between Iraq's Shiite and Sunni populations. The Iraqi and Iranian governments have expressed their readiness to improve ties after years of war and rivalry, and Iran has pledged to secure its borders to stop militants from crossing into Iraq.
The pledges were made during Tuesday's visit to Baghdad by Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi. It was the highest-level visit to Iraq by an official from any of Iraq's six neighboring countries since Saddam Hussein's removal from power two years ago.
The Iranian foreign minister pledged that Iran would not interfere in Iraqi internal affairs, and said Iranian authorities would not allow terrorists to use Iranian lands to access Iraq.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, who held talks with Kharrazi, welcomed Iran's help, saying the Al-Qaida leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was an enemy of both countries. He added: "We are sure the Islamic Republic (Iran) does not want al Qaeda and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on our lands."
In continuing violence in Iraq, it was reported Tuesday that three Islamic clerics were shot dead in Baghdad. The victims included both Shiite and Sunni clerics. Eleven other people, among them Iraqi officials, security forces and one U.S. soldier, were also reported killed Tuesday.