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In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran are two countries that claim to leadership in the region. With a powerful resources and political potential these countries are the...

Public Policy & Politics, Iraq


Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), is coming to Turkey on Thursday, a visit that follows a recent high-level visit from the central administration of Iraq to Turkey, which signaled a thaw in strained relations with Baghdad Today`s Zaman reported .

According to diplomatic sources, Barzani, who paid his last visit to Turkey in late July, is visiting Ankara on Thursday upon an invitation from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to meet with top government officials, including Erdogan.


Ankara and Baghdad have accelerated a recent move toward rapprochement with mutual high-level visits as the prime ministers of two countries are planning to exchange visits in the upcoming months, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is expected to visit Turkey in December, following the visits of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Nov. 13-14 and Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek on Nov. 22-23 to Iraq.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Oct. 27 that he would go to Baghdad after al-Maliki's visit to Turkey.


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran strongly supports lasting stability, security and progress in Iraq, adding that Iran is exhausting its capacities to help the Baghdad government achieve these goals, PressTV reported.

In a meeting with Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Ammar Hakim in Tehran on Tuesday, Zarif underscored the high potential of the Iraqi government in playing a constructive role in major regional and international issues.


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Sunday to stop Iranian flights over Iraq from carrying arms to Syria during a visit to the Iraqi capital, Reuters reported.

Kerry also urged Iraq's Sunni Muslim, Shi'ite and ethnic Kurdish factions to commit to the political process as the country's precarious intercommunal balance comes under growing strain from the conflict in neighboring Syria.


Iraqi Finance Minister Rafi al-Issawi announced his resignation on Friday in protest against the policies of the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Al Jazeera reported.

Al-Issawi, who is a follower of Sunni Islam, announced his resignation in front of the crowd of protesters in the Sunni Anbar province.

Earlier, in January this year, he was the subject of an assassination attempt. Unknown persons detonated a bomb in the Minister of Finance's route. Al-Issawi wasn't injured.


Iraq has expressed its consent to the construction of a gas pipeline from Iran to Syria through its territory, Iraqi newspaper Aswat al-Iraq reported on Wednesday.

The country's government authorized Oil Minister Abdul Karim al-Luaibi to sign a framework agreement with oil ministers from Iran and Syria to build the gas pipeline.

Iraq, Iran and Syria's oil industry ministers signed a preliminary agreement on cooperation in the construction of the gas pipeline on July 25, 2011 in the southern province of Bushehr. Cost of the agreement is estimated at $10 billion.


Ebrahim Aqa-Mohammadi, a member of Iran's Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said West and Saudi Arabia are attempting to undermine Iraq's national unity, Press TV reported.

Aqa-Mohammadi made the remark in an interview with the Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA) on Sunday.

"The West and Saudi Arabia intend to break up Iraq by targeting its national unity," Aqa-Mohammadi said.

He also noted that the West and some other Arab countries seek instability in the Middle Eastern country by provoking sectarian conflicts there.


Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Wednesday Turkey did not want to be a part of a solution to any problem between Iraq's central government and the administration in the country's north, Anadolu Agency reported.


Azerbaijan and Iraq have signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of youth and sports, Al-Sout al-Iraq newspaper said on Monday.

The memorandum was signed by Azerbaijani Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov and his Iraqi counterpart Jasim Mohammad Jafari in Baghdad.

Rahimov made an official visit to Iraq on Dec. 1. During the visit, the Azerbaijani minister was accompanied by a delegation of young entrepreneurs.

Rahimov has also met with Iraqi Vice-President Khudair al-Khuzaie.


Since 2011, the international sanctions against Iran's oil and gas sector have intensified. This led to Iran, as the country that heavily relies on oil exports, to review its policies, and pay more attention to its non-oil sector.

Iran has mostly been earning revenue via its oil exports. In order to maintain its imports, the country needed to keep the exports going, so the revenue money could be used on imports.

Comparing Iran's overall export and import shows a positive trade balance, while if comparing the non-oil exports and imports, then the negative trade balance can be observed.