Iraqi President Barham Salih received Iran's Ambassador to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi at al-Salam Palace on Wednesday.
During the meeting, Salih stressed the importance of promoting regional security and stability and further condemned the assassination of Iranian nuclear expert Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
He also stressed that Iraq seeks to prevent its territory from becoming a battleground for regional or global disputes.
The Iraqi presidency issued a statement stating that Salih also discussed with the Iranian envoy bilateral relations and means to boost cooperation across all sectors in a way that best serves the people of both nations.
The statement said that the Iraqi president stressed the need to reduce regional tensions, rejecting all violent acts or attacks that target countries’ security or endanger the safety of citizens, no matter the motive.
He also reaffirmed Iraq’s absolute rejection of any aggression that undermines the security and stability of the region.
“Iraq has worked towards more regional and international solidarity and cooperation to help promote peace and stability in all countries of the region.”
For his part, the Iranian ambassador stressed his country's commitment to supporting Iraq's security and stability, as well as the economic and social ties that bind the two countries and peoples.
Several Iraqi political parties and forces affiliated with Iran condemned the assassination of the Iranian scientist, while others criticized the Foreign Ministry for not condemning the incident.
Meanwhile, Professor of Political Science at al-Nahrain University, Dr. Yasen al-Bakri told Asharq Al-Awsat that Iraq wants to play a role in easing tensions between Iran and the US, believing that any regional escalation will have negative repercussions on Iraq.
Bakri added that the President’s meeting with the Iranian ambassador, after holding talks with the British delegation, indicates that there is a fear of an Iranian response and a counter-response from the US before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Bakri explained that Iraq may want to substitute Oman as a negotiator in the talks of the nuclear deal, and presents itself as a mediator between the quarreling parties rather than being a battlefield.
If Iran and the US agree, pressure on Iraq will be reduced by becoming a sponsor for the negotiations rather than a conflict point, concluded Bakri.