Chalabi briefs Iranian advisers in Baghdad

Feb. 9, 2009 at 6:09 PM
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BAGHDAD, Iran, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Iraq's Ahmad Chalabi spoke with top advisers to Iranian Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Baghdad about the need to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, met with Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser on international affairs to Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei on bilateral relations, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Chalabi earlier had led efforts to form a regional alliance with Iran, Turkey and Syria and called once again for plans to push for a regional alliance.

Chalabi, once a favorite among policymakers in Washington, pushed for cooperation with Iran in the energy sector and religious matters, as thousands of Iranians travel to Shiite holy cities in Iraq each year.

Velayati said he hoped Iraq would continue on its path toward recovery to take its place among regional leaders.

Velayati was in Baghdad on a religious pilgrimage to Iraqi holy sites. He is scheduled to visit with leaders from the Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and other top officials later in the week.

The visit comes on the heels of the announcement of the preliminary results for the Iraqi provincial elections. Chalabi's INC scored poorly in the elections, taking only 3 percent of the vote in Qadisiyah province.

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