EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif arrived in Iraq on Sunday at the head of a 30-strong delegation of political and economic figures.
He was scheduled to meet his Iraqi counterpart, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, the same afternoon, according to a statement by the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, ISNA reported.
He is due to meet Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi on Monday morning before addressing an economic seminar in Al-Mansour Melia Hotel.
The seminar, chaired by Iraqi Trade Minister Abdel Falah al-Sudani, will be organized in cooperation with Iranian and Iraqi businesspeople, according to Financial Tribune.
Zarif will then meet Barham Salih, the president of Iraq, in the evening.
He will head for Erbil the next day to meet Iraqi Kurdistan authorities and attend a business meeting of Iranian and Kurdish businesspeople.
Afterwards, Zarif will leave for Sulaymaniyah to hold meetings with other Kurdish officials.
Another business seminar has been scheduled in Karbala on Wednesday, in which Zarif and his accompanying delegation will discuss cooperation with Iraqi investors.
The top diplomat is to travel to Najaf before heading back to Iran on Thursday.
Zarif’s trip to Iraq is part of his regional tour to boost Iran’s international relations at a time the country needs enhanced trade ties to shore up its sanctions-hit economy.
With the United States’ massive efforts to restrict Iran’s ties with the world, it is essential to strengthen and maintain relations, especially with key business partners such as Iraq, to counter the effects of such hostile policies.
The US scrapped the 2015 nuclear deal last May and reimposed sanctions to pressure Iran into signing a new agreement.
It is also threatening other countries with penalties for doing business with Iran.
Iraq is a top importer of Iranian goods and is also dependent on Iranian gas and electricity.
Zarif had just arrived from a three-day visit to India on Thursday, which was aimed at bolstering cooperation with the Southeast Asian nation. India, too, is a top client of Iranian oil.