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Rouhani arrives in Baghdad as Iran seeks to retain influence in region

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has arrived in Baghdad, Iraq’s government said on Monday. The official visit is aimed at shoring up Tehran’s influence in Iraq and expanding trade ties. Iran also aims to send a strong message that it retains its influence in much of the region despite US sanctions, Reuters said. Before his “historic” first visit to the country, Rouhani said that Shiite Iran is determined to strengthen its brotherly ties with neighboring Iraq, state television reported. During the three-day visit, a series of agreements will be signed in energy, transport, agriculture, industry and health.