Iraq's prime minister on Tuesday made his first official visit to Iran, asking the Islamic regime to crack down on al-Qaida militants infiltrating his country and seeking new deals to help Iraq's troubled oil industry.
Premier Nouri al-Maliki had a red-carpet reception at the office of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. After their meeting, the two leaders exchanged jokes at a joint press conference.
"All our assistance to the Iraqi people will be to establish complete security in this country," Ahmadinejad told the press conference, according to the state-run news agency.
"Iran and Iraq enjoy historical relations. These relations go beyond from neighborly ties. Our relations will remain excellent," he said.
Al-Maliki said his visit would be "a turning point in the expansion of relations between Iran and Iraq that enjoy historical and ancient ties."
Asked about allegations that Iran was interfering in Iraq, al-Maliki said, "There is no obstacle in the way of implementing agreements between Iran and Iraq."