Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to make first official visit to Iraq soon

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to make first official visit to Iraq soon
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's first official visit to Iraq as president and the second to Baghdad in his lifetime.
3 min read
09 May, 2024
The President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani, confirmed Raisi’s visit to Iraq during and following a recent visit to Tehran. [Getty]

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is slated to visit Iraq to discuss security, economic, and trade issues, according to Iraqi and Kurdish officials. However, the specific date of the visit has yet to be determined.

The expected visit would mark Raisi's first since assuming the presidency and his second to Baghdad within the past five years, having previously served as the head of the judiciary in Iran.

The President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani, confirmed Raisi's visit to Iraq during and following Barzani's recent visit to Tehran.

"I discussed with President Ebrahim Raisi his planned visit to Baghdad. As the President of the Region, I extended an official invitation to him to visit the Kurdistan Region as part of his visit to Iraq," Barzani stated in a press conference in Erbil on Wednesday. Barzani did not specify the date of the visit he disclosed.

A senior official in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry confirmed to The New Arab's Arabic-language sister publication, Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed, that the Iraqi government is making arrangements in preparation for Raisi's visit to Baghdad, including preparing issues to be discussed between Iraqis and Iranians.

The official who spoke anonymously stated that "Iranian delegations will coordinate the visit with the Iraqi government."
The officials also considered border issues, shared oil fields, exchange of information and counterterrorism, Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in the Kurdistan Region, lifting entry visas between the two sides, and establishing joint industrial cities and trade exchange zones, among many other issues, are expected to have agreements signed regarding them.

Live Story

Regarding the expected date of the visit, the same official speculated that it is "a matter of weeks until the visit preparation is completed, provided there are no developments in the region resulting from Israeli escalation in Gaza."

The Iraqi Minister of Commerce, Atheel al-Ghurairi, clarified the Iranian President's visit to Iraq during a joint press conference in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Tayebnia.

"I would like to clarify that Iran is Iraq's second-largest trading partner. More than ten memoranda of understanding will be prepared for discussion during Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's anticipated visit to Iraq," al-Ghurairi said. The country is in a reconstruction phase, and Iranian investors must have a share."

Barzani, accompanied by a senior delegation, embarked on a two-day official visit to Tehran on 6 May. There, he met with senior Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raisi, Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian.

Barzani also declared that during the visit, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iran reached a new agreement to deal with Iranian Kurdish opposition parties based in the Kurdistan region without elaborating further. Barzani described the relationship between the Kurdistan Region and Iran as "historic," noting that he sensed "a serious willingness" by Iranian officials to solve security problems with the Kurdistan Region. He reiterated that no party should launch attacks on neighbouring countries from the region's territories.