Iranian Prez Arrives in Iraq

Ahmadinejad visit deepens ties with neighbor
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2008 8:23 AM CST
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani stand during a welcome ceremony in Baghdad, Sunday, March 2, 2008. Ahmadinejad arrived Sunday in Baghdad for the first-ever...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In an historic visit, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Iraq today predicting “a new chapter” for relations between the two countries, despite a tense history and a feud with Baghdad’s American allies. Ahmadinejad, who won’t be protected by US forces during his two-day trip, met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and will sit down with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Ahmadinejad said his trip was designed to deepen “brotherly ties” between the Shiite-led countries, but in Iraq, where his American foe maintains 150,000 troops, it’s also symbolic, Reuters says: No Iranian president has visited Iraq since Saddam Hussein launched a bloody eight-year war against Iran in 1980. “A visit to Iraq without the dictator is a truly happy one,” Ahmadinejad said.