Middle East

Iraq PM to make first official Iran visit on Saturday

Iraqi premier Adel Abdel Mahdi will travel to Iran on Saturday, a member of his office said, in his first official visit to the country rivaling Washington for influence over Baghdad.

The US reimposed tough sanctions on Tehrans energy and finance sectors last year but has granted Baghdad several exemptions to keep temporarily importing Iranian gas and electricity, crucial to Iraqs faltering power sector.

Abdel Mahdi, 77, has repeatedly said Iraq wants good ties with both the US and Iran.

The prime minister would spend two days in the Islamic republic, a member of his office told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

A number of top officials have visited the Iraqi capital in recent months, including Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in March, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in January, and a host of Arab leaders.

During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Abdel Mahdi said he was planning trips to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States, without specifying dates.

The premier has rarely traveled since coming to power in October, making his first trip abroad in late March to Egypt.

There, he met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and King Abdullah II oRead More – Source

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