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Iraqi president to pay official visit to Iran

TEHRAN, September 27 (RIA Novosti) - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will visit Tehran in the next few days to discuss bilateral cooperation with the Iranian leadership, the Iranian media reported on Saturday.

Talabani, who is paying the sixth visit to the Islamic republic since becoming president, will met with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other senior officials.

The media said the agenda of the visit would most likely center on a draft U.S.-Iraqi security pact, which critics in Iraq fear will extend American military, economic and political domination of the country. Iran says the pact would threaten its national security.

The agreement, which has been under negotiation for most of this year, would replace the U.N. mandate and must be ratified by the Iraqi parliament.

The deal between Baghdad and Washington was to have been signed in July, but was delayed mainly due to the lack of agreement on a deadline for the troop withdrawal and the controversial issue of immunity for U.S. troops and foreign contractors.

The agreement will allow U.S. forces to remain in Iraq beyond the end of this year, when a UN Security Council mandate is due to expire. There are currently 146,000 U.S. troops deployed in Iraq.

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