Iran’s Ahmadinejad kicks off neighboring Iraq visit
BAGHDADIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived yesterday in Iraq for a two-day visit, during which he is to meet with senior officials and visit Shiite holy sites.
Ahmadinejad arrived on an Iran Air plane to a red carpet welcome by Vice President Khudayr al-Khuzaie.
The Iranian president was invited by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, but will be hosted by Khuzaie, as Talabani is abroad for medical treatment. Ahmadinejad, whose term ends early next month, will visit the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala and that of Imam Ali in Najaf, two of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam.
Iranian state television reported that Ahmadinejad hopes the visit will boost economic cooperation between the two neighbors, which it says now amounts to $13 billion in annual trade.