Last Updated: Mon Apr 23, 2012 14:46 pm (KSA) 11:46 am (GMT)

Iran and Iraq must create alliance to become a great power, says Iranian official

Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki is visiting Iran in a bid to boost ties between the two countries that were once bitter foes. (AP)
Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki is visiting Iran in a bid to boost ties between the two countries that were once bitter foes. (AP)

Iran’s first vice president Mohammed Ridha Rihaimi said that if Tehran and Baghdad were to create an alliance, they will “form a great international power,” the Iranian Mehr News Agency reported on Sunday.

Rihaimi’s comments came after a meeting with Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki during his two-day visit to Tehran.

He pointed out to the two countries’ “special relations,” and how both were facing “international conspiracies due to their beliefs and goals.” He did not elaborate on what these beliefs or goals include.

The two countries’ trade agreements must be speedily fulfilled, he added. The agreements include railway projects connecting the two neighboring countries and cooperation between their oil and airline industries.

On Monday, after Maliki’s meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, both leaders reiterated Rihaimi’s statement and said that it is “necessary” to execute these trade agreements.

Head of the secular Iraqiya bloc, Ayad Allawi, who won the parliamentary election in 2010 by one seat but did not take premiership due to Maliki forming a coalition with other political parties, said he does not “accept” Maliki’s visit.

Allawi was quoted by Iraq based TV station Sumaria News as saying that he feared Iranian intervention in Iraqi politics similar to what had happened in 2010.

Critics claim that Maliki was able to become Iraq’s prime minister due to foreign support from countries like Iran, something Allawi was perhaps unable to gain.

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