Iraq Leaders to Visit Iran to Discuss Militia Role

Top Shiites will probe Tehran's hand in arming, training anti-government forces
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 1, 2008 2:06 PM CDT
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is seen at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, April 16, 2008.    (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
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(Newser) – A delegation of Shiite Iraqi officials is heading to Iran to discuss its role in supporting anti-government activity in Iraq, the New York Times reports. The trip marks the first time Iraqi leaders have visited Tehran over the issue. The officials, selected by PM al-Maliki, all have links to Iran, whose support of Shiite militias has long drawn US criticism.

Iraqis are torn between a desire to strengthen ties with their neighbor and distress over what they see as Iran’s attempt to undercut Iraq’s government. Maliki insisted that the delegation’s visit was not “a turn against Iran.” Adds one Shiite legislator: “It is quite obvious that the Iranians have the upper hand to manipulate the situation in Iraq.”