Iraqi National Security Adviser Qasim al-Araji arrived in Iran on Monday at the head of a high-ranking security delegation to discuss tightening security measures on the border between the two countries.
The visit comes at the directives of Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, said Araji's press office.
Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Akbar Ahmadian met with Araji, calling for the quick activation of a recent security agreement between their countries, reported Iranian media.
Ahmadian said the agreement underscores the role of the Iraqi government in ending the presence of "dissident" elements on the border, a reference to Iranian Kurdish opposition groups.
The meeting was Ahmadian's first official appearance after his appointment to his post. He succeeded Ali Shamkhani, whose last foreign visit was to Baghdad in March where he signed the border agreement.
Araji's visit comes two days after extensive meetings with security and political leaders in Sulaymaniyah and Erbil in the Kurdistan region, during which he met head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Bafel Talabani.
Araji’s talks in Kurdistan and Tehran likely focused on the activities of the Iranian Kurdish parties that have used Kurdish regions to launch attacks against Iran.
On March 19, Iraqi PM Sudani sponsored the joint security agreement between Baghdad and Tehran.
The agreement calls for coordination in "protecting the common borders" and "consolidating cooperation in several security fields."
A source close to the PUK said the security arrangements aim to protect the Iranian borders from the movements of the opposition parties and prevent Iraqi regions, especially Kurdish ones, from coming under Iranian retaliatory bombardment.
The source, who preferred not to be named, noted that even though the border stretches 1,200 kilometers, the focus is really on a few kms between Iran and the Sulaymaniyah and Erbil provinces.
He remarked that the governments in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah and the federal government in Baghdad have been unable to rein in the Iranian opposition groups, some of which have been deployed in the rugged joint border for nearly three decades.
All parties want to avoid angering Tehran, he stated.
Tehran has for years been calling on the Kurdish authorities to control the borders and expel Kurdish militants and party headquarters, especially in the town of Koysanjak, located 60 kilometers east of Erbil, and in the Zirkuiz region.
The source said over six Kurdish opposition parties have headquarters in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. The majority of them usually mobilize their supporters in Iran to hold protests and other activities in opposition to the authorities, most notably in regions that are predominantly Kurdish.