Sunday, April 29, 2007

Iran's top national security official in surprise visit to Iraq for talks with leaders, Maliki

Left: Sherwan Waili, Iraq's Minister of State for National Security, is said to have set up his own 'pro-Iranian' intelligence agency in competition with the CIA-funded Iraqi National Intelligence Service. The CIA has placed more than 500 officers in Iraq, according to U.S. intelligence sources, making the Iraq station the CIA's largest in the world.

Iran's top national security official Ali Larijani arrived in Baghdad on Sunday on a previously unannounced three-day visit for talks with Iraqi leaders, officials said.

The visit came as the two neighbours announced that Iran would send its foreign minister to a conference of world and regional powers later this week to find ways to help Iraq build peace and overcome its current security crisis.

"The visit of Mr Larijani is in the framework of bilateral relations. He will probably talk about security questions and the international conference," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in Tehran.

An Iraqi government official confirmed Larijani's arrival, and said he was in meetings with officials, without offering details.

Read the rest at ABC Australia

Related Link:
Report: Shia members of Iraq government set up 'shadow' spy agency

Related Link:
Perspective: Iran spy chief's disappearance a mystery all its own

Related Link:
Perspective: Pro-Iran agency may take over Iraq's intelligence

Related Link:
Iraq, Iran to exchange intelligence