Iran’s FM first foreign visit to be to Iraq, sources say

According to Iranian sources, Hossein Amir Abdollahian will attend the Baghdad Conference, which is expected to be held on August 28.

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Iran’s new foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian will participate in the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership, Iranian sources stated. This would be the first foreign trip of Abdollahian as the foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The forthcoming Baghdad Conference, which is led by the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, aims to gather regional countries to ensure their support for promoting stability and security in Iraq. Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are among the participating states. French President Emmanuel Macron is also among the guests invited to the conference.

An Iraqi source stated that “regional cooperation, economic partnership and integration, border issues, US-Iran talks, and regional security issues” will be among topics that would be handled during the conference. According to the source, the level of Saudi and Emirati participation is expected to be as high as ministerial, but the source added that it has not been confirmed.

In April, it was reported that Saudi Arabia and Iran hold direct talks in Baghdad through the Iraqi PM al-Kadhimi’s facilitation. Then, the two countries confirmed the talks. In June, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said that the talks were ongoing in a conducive atmosphere and expressed his hope that it would end successfully. During the upcoming Baghdad Conference, Amir Abdollahian is expected to come together with several of Saudi officials to resume stalled talks.

Abdollahian took office on Thursday following the Iranian Parliament, Majlis, gave a vote of confidence to the cabinet list put forward by President Ebrahim Raisi. Issuing a statement after he won the Parliament’s vote of confidence, Amir Abdollahian pledged to promote balanced, vibrant, and wise foreign relations based on mutual respect.

On August 26, Iran’s new foreign minister came together with his predecessor Javad Zarif at the handover ceremony held at the Ministry building. After saying farewell to Javad Zarif, the Iranian top diplomat welcomed his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign Ministry.

Sharing a message on his Twitter account, Amir Abdollahian wrote, “Pleased to host Pakistan FM, my brother Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, in my first day as foreign minister. Bilateral ties and regional issues, including the delicate situation in Afghanistan, were on the agenda.”

Also, the Iranian Foreign Minister held phone talks with his Russian colleague, Sergey Lavrov. The two top diplomats discussed the way to promote bilateral cooperation at international level, according to a statement issued by Iran’s state news agency. The 2015 nuclear deal was also reportedly on the agenda during the phone conversation.

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