Tehran to improve ties with Iraqi KRG

Tehran to improve ties with Iraqi KRG

TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
Tehran to improve ties with Iraqi KRG

Iranian President Ahmadinejad (R) says Tehran wants to have improved ties with Iraq’s KRG during a meeting with Premier Nechirvan Barzani (L). AFP photo

Iran yesterday called for improved ties with neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) particularly on the economic front, during a visit by KRG’s prime minister to Tehran, media reports said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the visiting premier, Nechirvan Barzani, that strengthened relations with Iraqi Kurdistan region could benefit Iraq, the presidency website reported.

“Exploring existing potentials, especially in trade and commerce, can spark a major leap in economic ties between Iran and Iraq,” Ahmadinejad said. “This will help with the welfare and development situation of both Iranian and Iraqi nations,” he added.

Barzani said KRG was prepared for a full expansion of ties, which he said, was of “great importance” to the autonomous region. Barzani also met with Tehran’s top security official, Saeed Jalili, telling him that trade between Iran and his region had exceeded $8 billion, ISNA news agency reported.

Jalili, who heads the Supreme National Security Council, insisted on keeping Iran’s borders with the Iraqi Kurdistan region as peaceful as possible. “Minor issues should not be allowed to prevent the development of strategic plans,” he said.

Iraq to renegotiate deal

Meanwhile, Iraq will renegotiate a massive weapons deal with Russia, a spokesman said yesterday, after Baghdad cancelled a $4.2 billion deal with Moscow. “The Iraqi government has not signed any deal to buy weapons from Russia so far, but the process is ongoing to purchase weapons from Russia because of Iraq’s needs,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

“[Iraq] will renegotiate with Russia to put an end to suspicions of corruption in the weapons deal,” Dabbagh said.