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Iraqi president pledges to expel Iranian rebel group

By Xinhua

Baghdad : Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said on Sunday that Iraq is working to expel an Iranian rebel organization that opposes the Iranian Islamic regime.

“The presence of those people as a terrorist organization in Iraq is prohibited according to the Iraqi constitution,” Talabani said in a joint news conference with visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“We are working to get rid of them,” Talabani pledged, referring to the Mujahideen Khalq organization, a main militant group which was founded in 1981 and aimed at establishing a democratic and secular government in Iran.

Ahmadinejad arrived here on Sunday for a landmark visit, the first for an Iranian president since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.

He was received by Talabani in his residence at the edge of the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad, which houses the Iraqi government offices and foreign embassies, including the U.S. one.

At the news conference, Ahmadinejad expressed his support to a united and strong Iraq, saying his visit here represents a new chapter for the bilateral relationship.

“A united, strong and developed Iraq will serve the interests of the whole region,” Ahmadinejad said after his meeting with Talabani.

“We had very good and positive talks in a friendly atmosphere and we reached agreements in all fields we have talked about,” he said.

Ahmadinejad also said that his visit will open a new chapter for the bilateral relationship as well as for the benefit of the whole region.

For his part, Talabani confirmed that the two leaders have discussed issues of common interest, disclosing that agreements between the two sides will be announced later.

Iran and Iraq fought a bloody eight-year war in 1980s, resulting in the loss of 1 million lives. The relations, however, has been picking up since Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003 and the Shiites came into power.