Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Ahmadinejad Praises Maliki for the SOFA

Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 4 January 2009 23:59

So maybe the prospect of a timetabled US withdrawal not involving political reform in Iraq was after all quite acceptable to Tehran? Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad certainly spun it that way after his meeting with Nuri al-Maliki in Tehran, describing the SOFA as a “pact of withdrawal”. Later, Maliki met with Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. This time, the Iraqi premier appears to have kept his tie on for the duration of the meeting (he was criticised for not having done so last time, in deference to Iranian post-1979 custom) but this symbolic assertion of Iraqi distinctiveness apart, the Iranian hosts generally seemed pleased about the turn of events in their neighbouring country.

Spot the difference: Nuri al-Maliki meeting with Ali Khamenei in January 2009 (above) and June 2008 (below)

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