Iranian President to Visit Iraq in March

Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will make a landmark visit to Iraq on March 2, the first-ever trip by an Iranian leader, the Iraqi government said Thursday.

Ahmadinejad will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani during his two-day visit, according to an Iraqi government spokesman.

"The two countries will discuss bilateral relations and joint projects," spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

The two neighbors fought a ruinous eight-year war in the 1980s that left an estimated 1 million people killed or wounded. But relations have improved since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Iran is overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim, and Iraq has a roughly 60 percent Shiite majority that emerged from decades of marginalization to become the country's dominant force after Saddam's ouster.

Ahmadinejad's trip was announced last month but Iraqi officials only unveiled the date on Thursday.