Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (file photo) (RFE/RL)
May 10, 2006 -- Hasan Kazemi Qomi met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad today as Iran's first ambassador to Iraq in some 20 years.
Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted Talabani as telling Qomi that upgrading relations will "open a new page in the history" of the two countries. Talabani also said that Baghdad wants Iran to help Iraq with its reconstruction efforts.
Iran and Iraq withdrew their ambassadors just before the start of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. Since then, diplomatic affairs between the two have been handled at the level of charge d'affaires.
Iraqi and U.S. officials have repeatedly accused Iran of interfering in Iraq's internal affairs. Iran has always denied the accusations.
Iraq And Iran
Iranian Shi'a protesting the Golden Mosque Bombing in Iraq on February 24
WHAT IS GOING ON? On March 8, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a roundtable discussion on relations between Iraq and Iran. Although most analysts agree that Iran has been actively involved in Iraq since the U.S.-led military operation to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, they continue to debate the nature, extent, and intent of that involvement. The RFE/RL briefing featured WAYNE WHITE, former deputy director of the U.S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia, and A. WILLIAM SAMII, RFE/RL's regional analyst for Iran and editor of the "RFE/RL Iran Report."