Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, is the first Iranian leader
to visit Iraq since the Iran-Iraq war.

The visit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, to Iraq is seen as a new chapter in relations between the two countries.

The historic trip, the first by an Iranian leader since the Iran-Iraq war, sparked heated protests and outraged many Sunni Arabs.

Some political observers think this underscored how a growing Iranian influence in Iraq could aggravate the existing mistrust and further sour relations between Shia and Sunnis. 

However, Iraqi political leaders appear determined to move closer to Tehran, despite American accusations that Iran finances and supports militias inside Iraq.

How will this new level of closer political and economic relations between Iran and Iraq impact the political future of Baghdad and the wider region?

What are its implications on the already strained political power play between Sunni and Shia factions in Iraq?

How will the US react and will it change its security and military strategies in Iraq?

Our guests this week are:

Dr Sadeq Zibakalam from Teheran University, Rich Schmierer from the US State Department and Dr Abdallah Alshaaal, former Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister.

Watch part one of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube
Watch part two of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube

This episode of Inside Iraq aired on Friday, March 7, 2008

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Source: Al Jazeera