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Report: Iran invites Iraq's Allawi


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Allawi: Invited to make official visit
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(CNN) -- An official Iranian news agency Tuesday reported that Iraq's interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, has been invited to make an official visit to Iran.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi made the announcement, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

The neighboring countries fought a bloody war in the 1980s and there have been tensions since.

Iran is overwhelmingly Shiite and Shiite Muslims comprise the majority of people in Iraq, which has huge Sunni Muslim and Kurdish populations.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said recently that there is concern among officials about Iran's statements and activities regarding Iraq.

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose followers are battling U.S. troops, takes his spiritual direction from an ultra-conservative, Iran-based, Iraqi-exile cleric.

Also, an Iranian diplomat who disappeared last week apparently has been kidnapped by Islamic militants.

Al-Arabiya, the Arabic-language network, aired a video Sunday from a group that identified itself as the Islamic Army of Iraq. The video showed the diplomat, Fereydoun Jahani, but gave no reason for his kidnapping.

Kharrazi reportedly said that the incident is being investigated.


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