Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he hoped Iraq would assume a bigger role for the aim of achieving security and stability in the region.
Mr Zarif made the comments following a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein in Baghdad.
“We welcome and praise Iraq’s vital and competent role in the region,” he said as he arrived on a two-day official visit to Iraq.
“We hope this role will continue towards achieving security and stability in the region, and we appreciate the Iraqi government’s efforts to find common ground for dialogue in the region,” Mr Zarif said.
The visit comes as Iraq was reportedly spearheading mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia on one side and Jordan and Egypt on the other.
The Iraqi foreign minister said that enhancing regional co-operation falls into Iraq’s interests to enhance stability.
“The co-operation between the countries […] will lead not only to the region’s stability, but also to security and stability inside Iraq,” Mr Hussein said.
He added that discussions and co-operation between Iraq and Iran in this regard have reached important levels.
“There are now negotiations in different capitals and dialogues in different places,” Mr Hussein said.
A government source and a western diplomat toldThe Nationalthat Iraq hosted meetings for officials from Iran and Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.
Discussions are still in the early stages.
Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have not confirmed the talks officially.
Mr Zarif is scheduled to meet other senior Iraqi officials in Baghdad and the northern Kurdish region.
He will also visit the southern city of Najaf, the seat of Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, a cleric who is revered by millions of Shiites. Najaf is also home to the shrine of Imam Ali, one of the holiest historic figures among Shiites, and a place of pilgrimage.