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Iran’s Raisi receives invite to planned regional summit in Baghdad

New Iranian president doesn’t confirm he’ll come to meeting, which France’s Macron plans to attend, but welcomes Iraqi initiative

Iran's new President Ebrahim Raisi speaks at his swearing-in ceremony at the Iranian parliament in the capital Tehran, on August 5, 2021. (Atta Kenare/AFP)
Iran's new President Ebrahim Raisi speaks at his swearing-in ceremony at the Iranian parliament in the capital Tehran, on August 5, 2021. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

TEHRAN, Iran — New Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been invited to a planned regional summit in Baghdad, his office said on Tuesday during a visit by Iraq’s top diplomat.

The invitation was delivered to the Iranian capital by Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, a day after Baghdad announced the summit set for later this month.

French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed he plans to attend, while Iraq has said Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman have also been invited.

Iran’s presidency did not confirm whether Raisi would accept his invitation, but a statement after his meeting with Hussein quoted him welcoming the Iraqi initiative.

“Cooperation between the region’s countries without foreign interference is the necessary condition for the region’s stable security,” Raisi added in a statement.

The presidency’s announcement came after Hussein met his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran, according to Iranian media.

The two men discussed “bilateral ties and [the] latest regional and international developments,” the ISNA news agency said.

No date for the meeting in Baghdad has yet been announced and a complete list of participants is yet to be unveiled.

Iraq is seeking to establish itself as a mediator between Arab countries and Iran.

Baghdad has been brokering talks between regional heavyweights Riyadh and Tehran since April on mending ties severed in 2016.

Raisi, who took office last week, has said he sees “no obstacles” to restoring ties with the Gulf kingdom, and has made improving relations with regional countries one of his administration’s priorities.

Pro-Iranian armed groups in Iraq are deeply opposed to the presence of United States troops there, and Washington has repeatedly accused them of targeting its personnel and interests with rocket and drone attacks.

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