Iraqi prime minister in Iran for 3-day visit with plans to discuss Syria, bilateral talks

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Iraq's prime minister has arrived in Iran's capital for a three-day visit that will focus on the civil war in Syria and bilateral ties.

Iranian state television says Nouri al-Maliki will hold talks with Iran's top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and others during his trip, which began Wednesday. It is Maliki's first trip to Iran since Rouhani came into office in August.

Iran and Iraq, two Shiite-majority countries, have enjoyed close relations since the ouster of the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Iran also is a major supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country's civil war. Iraq has been affected by the ongoing conflict.

Maliki's visit comes days before Afghan President Hamid Karzai is to visit Iran for talks.