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Iran's Mottaki Visits Shi'ite Holy City In Iraq

Manuchehr Mottaki (file photo) (epa) May 27, 2006 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki today visited the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala in Iraq.

Mottaki is expected to continue on to Najaf, home to the Imam Ali shrine, and to hold talks there with Iraq's leading Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

The visit underlines ties between Iran and Iraqi Shi'ites. It has also raised concerns among Iraqi Sunnis and the United States that Iran is trying to gain influence in Iraq.

Mottaki met with Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad on May 26. Mottaki said that Iran has ruled out direct talks with U.S. officials for now about the situation in Iraq.

Mottaki's visit to Iraq is the first by a top Iranian official since Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's election victory in June 2005.


Iraq And Iran

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."


Listen to the complete RFE/RL briefing (about 75 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


Iran/Iraq: Bilateral Ties Improving Despite U.S. Worries

Renewed Speculation About Tehran And Instability In Iraq

Iran/Iraq: Neighbors Mending Ties, But Outstanding Issues Remain


RFE/RL's coverage of Iran. RFE/RL's coverage of Iraq.