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Iranian President to Meet with Shiites in Baghdad

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Iranian President to Meet with Shiites in Baghdad

Iraq

Iranian President to Meet with Shiites in Baghdad

Iranian President to Meet with Shiites in Baghdad

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/87837156/87837116" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes history Sunday — becoming the first Iranian president to officially visit Iraq. Many see the visit as a power play, an opportunity for Iran to show some influence over an old foe.

Ahmadinejad will meet with the Shiite leaders of Iraq's government and visit holy cities south of the capital. Iraqi Sunni leaders complain that the visit is further proof of the growing Iranian influence in Baghdad.

Vali Nasr, a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University, says the visit "underscores the fact that, in the eyes of Arabs as well as the United States and the West, that Iran is a player, an important player in Iraq. And that it has a role to play and good relations with the same Iraqi government that the West has propped up and is continuing to support."

Dina Temple-Raston, in Baghdad covering the Iranian president's visit, talks with Liane Hansen.

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