Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

After India, Iran piles pressure on Pakistan | iran

After India, Iran piles pressure on Pakistan | iran

"We are awaiting your decisive operations against these terrorists", Iran's IRNA news quoted Rouhani as saying during the telephonic conversation with Mr. Khan.

In Iraq, leaders are struggling to balance the country's allegiances to the United States and Iran.

The PM Office, in its statement, said that President Rouhani considers Pakistan and Iran "neighbours and brotherly countries linked through centuries of closed historic cultural and people to people linkages".

It has been under pressure from Washington not to get too close to its neighbour, particularly after the United States past year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and hit Tehran with sanctions.

Iran has accused Saudi Arabia, Israel and the U.S. for helping fund terrorist violence against them.

The meeting in the Shiite shrine city of Najaf will be the first between the top cleric and an Iranian president.

Rohani, accompanied by a high-ranking political and economic delegation, was received by a guard of honor on landing in Baghdad, where he was welcomed by Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who arrived in the Iraqi capital earlier in the day, thanked Baghdad for having "refused the unjust and illegal sanctions imposed on the Iranian people", in reference to the US sanctions.

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Sistani, who is Iranian, is opposed to the contested Shiite Muslim doctrine known as wilayat al-faqih, which is the foundation of the clerical-ruled government in Iran. There is no doubt that we will be affected by these sanctions, but it is certain that we will not be part of them, ' he said.

The premier is mulling over visiting the neighbouring country very soon. We will do our best to reduce tensions in this regard and decrease the damage that will be done to the Iranian nation, ' added Salih.

Rouhani, who is on his first trip to Iraq since becoming president in 2013, hailed his country's "special" ties with its neighbor. Rouhani's trip comes months after Salih visited Tehran in November.

Mr Rouhani's visit also indicates how relations between the two states have changed.

Iran and Iraq plan to raise annual bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current level of $12 billion, according to Rouhani. The United States reimposed its near-total trade embargo on Iran in the fall, after President Trump said he would withdraw from a 2015 nuclear accord that curbed Iran's atomic energy program in exchange for major sanctions relief.

Iran and Iraq have come a long way since the 1980s, when under dictator Saddam Hussein Iraq waged a bloody eight-year war against Iran, a conflict that left almost 1 million killed on both sides.

By comparison, annual trade between Saudi Arabia and Iraq stands below $6 billion.

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