Iran’s new foreign minister, Javad Zarif, visited Iraq on Sunday to discuss what he called the “dangerous situation” in Syria and the wider region.
Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebar welcomed his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif upon his arrival at the Baghdad International Airport
After more than two years of civil war, U.S. President Barack Obama is trying to drum up support for limited strikes on Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack that Washington blames on the government of Bashar al-Assad.
Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government has sought to maintain a neutral stance towards the conflict and has warned against any Western military intervention in Syria. Iran, Assad’s main regional ally, also opposes a strike.
“Our negotiations in Baghdad will tackle bilateral issues and the dangerous situation and circumstances in the region,” said Zarif after landing in Baghdad for his first official trip abroad since taking office.
He was received by his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari and was also expected to meet Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki later in the day.
The Syrian conflict has widened a fault line between Islam’s two main denominations, pitting mainly Sunni rebels, their Gulf Arab sponsors and some Western powers against Assad, whose Alawite sect derives from Shi’ism.