|Iran, Iraq call for expansion of defense ties||
TEHRAN – During a meeting in Baghdad on Wednesday, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called for the expansion of cooperation between the two countries in various areas, particularly in the area of defense.
Heading a high-ranking military delegation, Brigadier General Vahidi arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday at the invitation of his Iraqi counterpart Saadoun al-Dulaimi.
It is the first time that an Iranian defense minister has visited Iraq since the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979.
During the meeting, Maliki said that enhanced defense ties between Iran and Iraq will help promote peace in the region.
Vahidi stated that defense and security cooperation between the two countries is exemplary in the region.
Upon his arrival in Baghdad, Vahidi told reporters that Iran’s principled policy is to expand cooperation with regional countries, particularly Iraq.
“The country of Iraq has a special status in Iran’s foreign policy and defense diplomacy,” he added.
He also stated that the “new Iraq” that has a democratically elected government has provided an “opportunity” for the Iranian and Iraqi nations to take great steps toward further cooperation based on the principle of “good neighborliness” and friendly relations.
In addition, Vahidi expressed hope that his visit to Baghdad would lead to the expansion of defense cooperation and the promotion of peace and security in the region.
Iraq, under the toppled regime of Saddam Hussein, waged a war against Iran in September 1980, which lasted until the summer of 1988.
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