06/09/2008 11:58 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What Iran Means to Iraq

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq is on a state visit to Iran (which began on Saturday evening), his third since he assumed office in 2005. He was, as is customary for Muslim heads of state (and prime ministers), granted an audience with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The photographs below show Maliki with President Ahmadinejad and in his subsequent meeting with the Supreme Leader.

What is of note is the absence of a tie around his neck, a tie that he normally wears daily, in that second meeting. His not wearing one is both a sign of respect for the leader of a regime that believes ties are a symbol of western influence and decadence (or "westoxification", in the revolutionary lexicon), but perhaps, more importantly, a sign that he really didn't want to piss off the Supreme Leader of Iran.

Now, any questions on Iran's influence in Iraq?