Iranian Foreign Minister meets top Shiite cleric in Iraq
Acting Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met Iraq's top Shiite cleric, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in Najaf on Thursday dpa reported
Sources told the German Press Agency dpa that the two discussed "various issues that concern the two countries" including how important the holy Shiite city of Najaf and the whole of Iraq is to Iran's highest religious authority.
He told reporters at a news conference in Najaf, located some 180 kilometres south of Baghdad, that Iran "will build relations with Iraq based on non-intervention in its internal affairs."
The Iranian politician, who also serves as his country's representative to to the International Atomic Energy Agency, met a day earlier with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi.
The Iranian foreign minister also met his counterpart Hoshyar Zebari and politician Ammar al-Hakim, who is head of the Shiite-based Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq party.
It was the first official state visit by a high-ranking Iranian official to Iraq since the formation of a new government in Baghdad following eight months of political impasse.
Salehi was born in Karbala when his family was in Iraq for a religious visit and lived in the country for several years before gaining a Ph.D. degree in the United States at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology