Iraqi premier to visit Iran in bid to boost trade ties and cooperation in fight against Islamic State

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Azzaman, October 18, 2014

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi is visiting Iran early next week to explore ways to boost trade ties and increase cooperation in fight against Islamic State (IS).

The visit to Iran, expected on Monday, will be Abadi’s first to Iran, with which Iraq shares a 1800 kilometer-frontier and several border points to facilitate trade and travel exchange.

Government sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Iraq has emerged as a major player in Iraq in with its influence increasing not only in Iraqi politics but trade, economy and reconstruction.

The advent of Islamic State and its control of large swathes of Iraqi territory in the past few months has even brought the countries closer together as they now face a common enemy.

“Iran is now the main commercial basket for Iraq,” said Ahmad al-Abadi, a law consultant who works closely with the prime minister. “Trade with and imports from Iran will occupy the priority in the talks of Iraqi premier in Tehran.”

Ahmad al-Abadi is not a relative to the prime minister but the two belong to the same tribe from which they draw their surnames.

Because Iran is not part of the U.S.-led coalition against terror, the prime minister will focus on “military cooperation with Tehran and border security,” Ahmad al-Abadi.

Islamic State militants are fighting for the control of districts and towns close to the borders with Iran.

Ahmad al-Abadi said the Iranians are wary of the advances made IS militants close to their borders and “they are keen to defend their frontier.”

Iran is involved in the fight against IS in Iraq, analysts in Baghdad say.

They said Tehran might seek Iraqi permission to establish logistical centers inside Iraq to use them as points of supply for both Iraqi and Iranian troops engaged in fighting IS militants.