TEHRAN -- New Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been invited to a planned regional summit in Baghdad, his office said 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 Muhammad Javad Zarif in Tehran.
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.
Raisi, who took office last week, has said he sees “no obstacles” to restoring ties with Saudi Arabia, and has made improving relations with regional countries one of his administration’s priorities.
“Cooperation and synergy among regional countries without foreign interference are prerequisites for regional stability and security, the establishment of peace in countries of the region, and welfare of its nations,” he told Hussein.
Iran believes that dialog among regional countries aimed at finding solutions to the existing problems and improving relations would promote security and stability, while foreign meddling in the region’s affairs would increase tensions, he added.
Hussein said durable security in the region would not be achieved without the presence of Iran and Iraq, and that the Baghdad conference would prepare the ground for promoting regional dialog in order to reach a collective understanding.
Iraq’s top diplomat also met Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani who touched on the recent “suspicious” activities of the U.S., the occupying regime of Israel and the UK in the Middle East to destabilize the region, warning that the Islamic Republic is fully aware of the motives behind such moves and stands ready to foil any conspiracy.
“The suspicious behavior that the United States, Britain and the Zionist regime have recently begun to display in the region have laid the ground for insecurity and misunderstanding among the Persian Gulf littoral countries,” Shamkhani said.
He said Iran has full intelligence regarding the covert objectives of such measures and is completely ready to neutralize plots aimed at destabilizing the region.
Tensions simmer in the region in the
wake of the July 29 suspected drone attack on the Israeli-managed tanker — Mercer Street — off the Omani coast, where two crew members were killed.
Referring to anti-Iran armed terrorist groups taking shelter in Iraq’s Kurdistan, he called on the Iraqi government to take more serious steps to expel these groups from the semi-autonomous region in order for Tehran not to adopt precautionary measures against vicious acts by the armed terrorists.