Iran's new foreign minister is pushing to cement ties with neighboring Iraq at a time when American troops are preparing to go home and Tehran's influence is expected to rise.
"We look forward to Iraq returning to its full independence and security," the Iranian foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, who was born in Karbala in central Iraq, told a news conference in Baghdad.
Iranian officials have expressed hope that the new Iraqi government, which was approved by parliament on December 21, would help stabilize the war-torn country and lead to the exit of the "occupying" U.S. forces.
Iran has regularly called for U.S. troops to leave Iraq, citing their presence as the main cause of violence in its western neighbor.
To discuss PMOI issue
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the news conference that Salehi had met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and that one of the issu
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