Thu, 14 Nov 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has arrived in Baghdad for talks with his Iraqi counterpart and other officials amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States.

Zarif will meet with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim, President Barham Salih, and Prime Minister Mohammed al-Halbousi during a two-day visit that began on May 25, the official IRNA news agency said.

A spokesman for Iraq's Foreign Ministry said Zarif will discuss the situation in the region and ways of finding common ground.

Zarif's visit comes a day after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the deployment of 1,500 additional military personnel to the Middle East.

Trump's announcement on May 24 was later followed by a statement from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the administration planned to sell $8.1 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan to 'deter Iranian aggression.'

Earlier in May, the United States sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Middle East in response to a still-unexplained threat from Iran.

Zarif said the U.S. move to send troops to the region "was extremely dangerous...[for] international peace."

Washington withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran last year and imposed strict sanctions aimed at crippling Iran's economy.

Iran announced earlier this month that it would stop implementing some key provisions of the deal, citing the U.S. exit and the sanctions.

Based on reporting by dpa and AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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