Former Iranian president arrives in Baghdad for talks

March 2, 2009 12:46

Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani arrived in Baghdad Monday to begin talks with political and religious leaders. His arrival follows last week's meetings in Teheran by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. The Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad maintains close ties to Iran, but Sunnis and others have questioned whether Teheran wields too much influence over some Shiite politicians. Rafsanjani remains one of the most powerful figures in Iran. He leads a panel of clerics empowered to monitor Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and eventually choose his successor. But Rafsanjani also carries wider clout as an elder statesman and through his family's vast business empire. He was greeted by the head of Iraq's president's office.

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