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Iraqi Prime Minister Seeks Support In Tehran

Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi (right) welcomes Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to Tehran.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has arrived in Iran as he struggles to secure a second term in office.

Shortly after arriving in Tehran today, Maliki met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and described Iraq's relations with Iran as "strategic," according to state television.

Maliki has been involved in a protracted battle for the premiership with former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi since in the March 7 vote.

Maliki's Shi'ite-led State of Law alliance came a close second to Allawi's mainly Sunni-backed Al-Iraqiyah bloc, but neither has managed to secure a parliamentary majority.

Allawi, a secular Shi'a, has repeatedly accused Iran of meddling in the coalition talks in Iraq.

On October 17, he said Iran should "not impose or support one faction over the other" in Iraq.

He also accused Iran of destabilizing the entire Middle East and said the region was "falling victim" to extremist groups financed by Iran.

compiled from agency reports