TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif held a telephone conversation with his new Iraqi counterpart Mohamed Ali al-Hakim, congratulating him on taking up the post.
In the telephone conversation on Thursday, Zarif wished success for the Iraqi diplomat in his new post, expressing the hope that the close relations between Tehran and Baghdad would further expand in various arenas and fulfill the interests of the two nations.
The Iranian foreign minister also thanked the Iraqi government and nation for their warm hospitality by serving the Iranian pilgrims traveling to Iraq’s holy cities of Najaf and Karbala during the Arbaeen season, which marks the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shiite Imam.
Describing Arbaeen as the symbol of greatness of and respect for Ahl al-Bayt (the family of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)) and the unity between the Iranian and Iraqi nations, Zarif called for further assistance by the Iraqi government to facilitate the visit for Iranian pilgrims along the common border, particularly at Mehran border crossing, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website.
For his part, the incoming Iraqi foreign minister expressed gratitude to Zarif, highlighted the good and longstanding relations between the two nations, and called for stronger bilateral ties.
Al-Hakim also referred to the Iranian pilgrims travelling to Iraq for Arbaeen as guests of the Iraqi government and nation, and assured his Iranian counterpart that the Baghdad government would provide the pilgrims with the necessary facilities during their stay in the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.
On Thursday, the Iraqi parliament approved 14 new cabinet ministers proposed by prime minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi, while key portfolios such as defense and interior affairs have remained unassigned.
Mohammad Ali al-Hakim, a former ambassador to the UN, was elected as the new foreign minister.