POLITICS
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Iraqi Foreign Ministry: Ahmadinejad To Make Landmark Visit To Iraq

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accepted an invitation to visit Baghdad, Iraq's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, a landmark trip that would make him the first leader of Iran to visit its former foe.

Iran and Iraq fought an eight-year war in the 1980s in which hundreds of thousands were killed, but relations have improved since Saddam Hussein was ousted in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and a Shi'ite Islamist-led government came to power.

"President Ahmadinejad has accepted an invitation from President (Jalal) Talabani to come to Iraq," Iraqi deputy Foreign Minister Labeed Abawi told Reuters.

An aide to Ahmadinejad, who asked not to be identified, said: "We have heard about it but no date has been scheduled."

Both Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have visited Shi'ite Iran, which some Middle East analysts say exerts greater influence in Iraq than the United States.

Ahmadinejad has accepted the invitation at a time of heightened tension between Iran and the United States, which said its warships were threatened by Iranian craft in the Strait of Hormuz earlier this month.

Read more on Reuters