Iranian, Iraqi Officials Call to Set Aside Bitter Past, Forge Peace

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami warned "foreigners" against interfering with Iraq's territorial integrity, state-run Tehran television reported on Sunday.

Khatami did not elaborate, but the comment was an apparent reference to the threat of U.S.-led forces attacking Iraq — Washington's longtime foe — as part of the war against terrorism.

Khatami's comments were made following talks with visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri.

Iran and Iraq, which share a 800-mile border, host rebels fighting each other's government. A 1980-88 war between the two Muslim nations killed or wounded more than 1 million people before a U.N.-brokered cease-fire ended the bloodshed.

On Sunday Sabri and Khatami called for a resumption of peaceful relations. Sabri said the time has come for both countries to forget the past and work for permanent peace and cooperation.

Sabri's four-day visit, which ends Monday, comes on the heels of Iran's recent release of 697 Iraqi soldiers. Iraq said it had released to Iran 50 Iranian prisoners.