Ahmadinejad Plans First Iraq Trip

First Iranian leader to visit since '80s war; highlights new relations
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2008 12:52 PM CST
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaks at a ceremony in Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, 300 kms 186 (miles) south of capital Tehran, Iran, in this April, 9, 2007, file photo. (AP...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Baghdad, the Iraqi foreign ministry announced today, a historic trip that highlights the new relationship between the neighbors, who fought a bloody war in the 1980s. No Iranian president has ever visited Iraq, but with a Shiite government in power after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, some say Iranian influence eclipses the US’, Reuters reports.

Ahmadinejad is accepting an invitation from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who, like Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has already visited Iran. The invitation comes despite increased tensions between Iran and the US. Iraq says it doesn’t want to be caught between the two, but the US charges Tehran with exerting a “negative influence” on its neighbor.