Iraqi foreign minister says Ahmadinejad OK


Iraq’s foreign minister said on Thursday Baghdad did not have any difficulties in dealing with neighbouring Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and respected its one-time arch foe’s political system.

Hoshiyar Zebari told Reuters that Iraq was concerned about instabilty in Iran after disputed presidential elections but added it was unlikely to see any fallout.

“We as Iraqis respect the will of the Iranian people and we respect the political system, and we are not” in a position to pass judgment on their choices, Zebari said in an interview.

Iran is seeing its worst unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution after presidential elections in which the hardline incumbent, Ahmadinejad, was officially declared to have won a resounding victory. [ID:nLH619094]

Most Western countries have questioned the fairness of the vote and have avoided recognising Ahmadinejad’s win.

Zebari said Iraq, which fought a war with Iran in the 1980s, had no problems with Ahmadinejad being confirmed as the next leader.

“We don’t have any difficulties in dealing with Ahmadinejad, because he knows our positions, he knows the problems, the difficulties and what needs to be done to bolster Iraq-Iran relations in every field,” he said.

Since the ouster of Sunni Muslim Saddam Hussein in 2003, relations between majority Shi’ite Muslim Iraq and Iran have improved, but the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is still a source of tension with Tehran.

Zebari said that for now Iraq was unlikely to see fallout from the instability of its neighbour, unless there were “some dramatic changes in Iran”.

Iran has long been accused of funding, arming and training anti-American Shi’ite militia, but the Iraqi foreign minister said such interference by Iran was waning.

“I’m not saying that the interference has stopped. But it has been, I would say, less lethal,” he said.

The Iraqi foreign minister, in Japan on a six-day trip until Monday, will meet with his Japanese counterpart Hirofumi Nakasone and Prime Minister Taro Aso to discuss improving Iraq’s business environment to attract more Japanese investment.

Reuters.com

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