Iranian foreign minister meets with Kurdistan Region PM in Erbil

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani (right) meets Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in Erbil, April 27, 2021. (Photo: KRG)
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani (right) meets Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in Erbil, April 27, 2021. (Photo: KRG)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani received Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Erbil on Tuesday.

In their meeting, also attended by Kurdistan Region Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the two "discussed ways to strengthen relations" as well as to further "develop economic relations and trade exchange" between the two neighboring governments.

Zarif landed in Iraq’s capital on the previous day, following reports that Iraq recently played the role of mediator between Iran and its decades-old rival Saudi Arabia by becoming a venue for talks.

Read More: Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif in Iraq amid Riyadh-Tehran talks

Although Saudi officials have not confirmed any meetings took place, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq said last week he "welcomed" such a move without elaborating on the details.

In their meeting on Tuesday, Barzani and Zarif focused on long-term negotiations between Iraq's federal government and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), notable among them the importance of implementing the 2021 national budget.

Zarif made world headlines this week after a leaked bombshell discussion was reported by the press in which he complained of his lack of control over the making of Iranian foreign policy, which, he said, was really set by Qassim Soleimani, who headed the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) until his assassination in January 2020, as well as by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Read More: Zarif: Soleimani, Khamenei determined Iran’s foreign policy; Russia opposed nuclear deal

Zarif also revealed that Russia, working with Soleimani, had sought to sabotage the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), "because it was not in Moscow’s interests for Iran to normalize relations with the West," according to a New York Times report, published on Sunday.

Editing by John J. Catherine