Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Baghdad soon in what will be the first-ever visit of an Iranian president to Iraq, a state television channel said on its Web site Monday. The invitation for Ahmadinejad came during a recent visit here by the Iraqi prime minister, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted as saying on the Web site of English Press TV. The date of Ahmadinejad's visit to Baghdad has not been fixed yet but would be soon announced, Mottaki said. Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite whose Shi'ite-led government has strong ties to Iran, officially invited Ahmadinejad while in Teheran earlier in August. The three-day visit was seen as a boost of Iranian support for al-Maliki, stuck in political turmoil at home.
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Maliki's government has only partially backed the US claims that Teheran is behind attacks on US troops, saying it has not ruled out an Iranian role in fueling the anti-American insurgency. Teheran denies the charges.
The two neighbors share a 1,280 kilometer (800 mile) long boundary and have standing disagreements over border issues, including the demarcation line in the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway, which is called Arvand River by Iranians.
The two lost more than one million lives in the eight-year-long war launched by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1980. No peace accord has been signed.
Iraq was formed in 1921 and became independent in 1932. Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, it became a republic and has since had a president.
Previous top Iranians to visit Iraq were Ayatollah Rohullah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution who lived in exile in the Iraqi city of Najaf for 14 years before the revolution, and Iran's late King Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who briefly stopped in Baghdad on a flight to Italy in 1953.