Spring days for Tehran-Baghdad relations
WANA (Apr 29) – Abdul Latif Rashid, the President of Iraq, has just arrived in Tehran on Saturday morning for a one-day official visit at the invitation of President Ebrahim Raisi.
On his one-day trip to Tehran, he is due to meet Iran President Ebrahim Raisi at Sa’dabad Historical and Cultural Complex and attend a joint press conference.
In recent months, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been focusing more on restoring and maintaining diplomatic and economic ties with Iraq to bolster bilateral relations.
Both States have a history that extends for millennia into the past. Iran and Iraq share a long border (the longest border for both nations) and an ancient cultural and religious heritage.
In the aftermath of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, Saddam Hussein launched an invasion of Iran over border disputes and a desire to gain control of oil-rich areas in Iran’s territory. The conflict lasted for eight years and ended in a stalemate. During the war, Iraq used chemical weapons and violence against Iraqi Kurds and Marsh Arabs, who were accused of colluding with Iran.
The fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the eventual rise to power by pro-Iranian Shia factions (i.e. Islamic Dawa Party and Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) led to the normalization of relations between the two countries. Since 2003, Iraq has allowed Shia Muslims from Iran to make the pilgrimage to holy Shia sites in Iraq.
In March 2008, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian president to visit Iraq since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. Former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has made several state visits to Iran since 2006 and expressed sympathy with Iran over its nuclear energy program. Iran has since become Iraq’s largest trading partner.
Iran and Iraq are very close allies supporting each other in these tumultuous years. The relationship between the two countries is strong in part due to the fact that both governments operate on a Shi’ite system of governance.
Iran has an embassy in Baghdad and four consulates general in Basra, Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, and Karbala. Iraq has an embassy in Tehran and three consulates general in Kermanshah, Ahvaz, and Mashhad.