UPI reports Iran's foreign minister arrived in Iraq Friday, the first such visit by a senior Iranian official since the formation of the new Iraqi government.
The visit of Manouchehr Mottaki is also the first such since the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's president, reports the BBC. The two countries fought a bitter 8-year war in the 1980s when Iraq was under Saddam Hussein.
The official Iranian media said Mottaki, leading a high-ranking political delegation, was received by his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Mahmud al-Zebari and Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations Hamid al-Bayati.
"The visit indicates the high importance Tehran attaches to the Iran-Iraq relations both in the bilateral and regional fields," the Iranian report said.
The BBC report said Iran strongly opposes the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq but has much influence in that country because of Iraq's large Shiite Muslim population. The report said Iran wants a relatively stable Iraq and may offer to use its influence with the Shiite groups toward that goal.
"Iran doesn't claim that they want to obtain a nuclear weapon or a nuclear bomb, so there is no need that we ask them for any guarantee now," Hoshyar Zebari said after meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki.
Next I turn on Fox News and their is Afghanistan President Hamad Karzai laughing and shaking hands with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president.
I understand the need for diplomacy but watching the insurgency in Iraq, the indecisiveness of Iraqi leaders and the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan, I must wonder out loud. What will be the long-term effects in those regions where we, the United States, have given so much for freedom? I especially don't appreciate comments from Iraq about Iran's "rights" to pursue nuclear energy.