Iraqi PM to start two-day visit to Iran on Monday

Iraq's prime minister will visit Iran on Monday, the government said Saturday. Nouri al-Maliki's two-day visit will focus on security and bilateral relations, the Cabinet said in a statement. The visit will come a week after al-Maliki's deputy prime minister, Barham Saleh, visited Teheran. The trip "is to confirm the establishment of friendly and balanced relations based on common interest and respect of the sovereignty of the two countries without any interference in internal affairs," the statement said. Iraq's new Shiite leaders have close ties to Iran.