Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday defined Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari's landmark visit to Iran as a "turning point" in the history of the bilateral relations.
"Hopefully, the visit (of Jaafari) will set a turning point in the bilateral historical relations and will make up for the great loss incurred by Saddam Hussein's regime," Khatami was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
Khatami made the remarks in a meeting with Jaafari, who, leading a large delegation, arrived here on Saturday afternoon and kicked off the diplomatic intercommunion of the highest level between the two neighbors since the outbreak of the 1980-1988 war.
The two neighbors fought a disastrous war from 1980 to 1988, during which totally more than 500,000 people were killed, which was referred to by Khatami as "great loss incurred by Saddam Hussein's regime."
The outgoing president said Iraq's neighbors and allies are bound to take an active part in the country's reconstruction and Iran would use its expertise towards renovation of Iraq and promotion of its security and stability.
"Security, stability and progress of the two neighboring states are interconnected and Iran's strategic policy is to support a free, independent, advanced and secure Iraq," Khatami said.
For his part, Jaafari noted that the establishment of security and stability in Iraq will be in the interest of all regional states and stressed the priority of fighting against terrorism.
"We are now situated at the threshold of a new stage and fortunately positive steps have been taken," Jaafari said.
Meanwhile, Iran's Majlis Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel also met the Iraqi guests. He stressed that Iran will continue supporting the Iraqi nation after the new cabinet assumption of power.
"With the new government taking office, Iran's present foreign policy will remain unchanged," Adel said.
Iran's President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be sworn in on Aug. 4. The meeting with Ahmadinejad is also on the addenda of Jaafari's visit.