Iran expresses supports for Iraqi democracy

Jalal Talabani, the first Iraqi president to visit Iran for nearly four decades, received assurances on Monday that Tehran supported its neighbor's transition to democracy.

Shi'ite Muslim Iran has repeatedly been accused of meddling in post-war Iraq, with Western and Iraqi officials charging Iran with allowing weapons and insurgents to cross its borders.

But Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said such accusations were unfounded and voiced by those who did not want better ties between Baghdad and Tehran, who fought each other to a standstill in a 1980-1988 war.

"Such accusations will definitely not affect the expansion of relations between Iran and Iraq," he told reporters after a meeting with Talabani, the first Iraqi leader to visit Tehran since the late 1960s.

"A popular, independent and developed Iraq will be the best friend of the Iranian nation," Ahmadinejad said.

"We totally support the political process that the Iraqi nation is undergoing that will … guarantee its territorial integrity, independence and progress," he added.

Talabani, who will meet Iran's foreign minister and top security official on Tuesday, said his visit was aimed at strengthening political and commercial ties, Reuters reports.


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