Rouhani's first official visit to Iraq - dubbed as a "historic" new start in relations by his foreign minister - is primarily focused on trade and investment at a time when Tehran is battling against economic isolation following the Trump administration's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposition of unilateral sanctions. "One can not forget the bombs that Americans dropped on Iraq, Syria and other regional countries".
Before leaving Tehran, Mr Rouhani said Iraq's ties with Iran could not be compared to its links with an "occupying country" like the U.S. that was "hated in the region".
Iraq was granted limited waivers to continue buying Iranian electricity and the natural gas needed to generate it, although the United States has called on Baghdad to form partnerships with American companies to become energy independent. He is set to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, President Barham Saleh and the country´s chief Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, according to the Iranian government´s website.
Iran-allied Shiite paramilitary fighters step on an Israeli flag drawn on the pavement during a rally to mark "Quds Day" (Jerusalem Day) first initiated by Iran in 1979 to fall on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on June 8, 2018. But since the US -led invasion of Iraq in 2003, which ousted Hussein, Iran has bolstered its influence much to the chagrin of the United States.
During Rouhani's three-day visit a series of agreements will be signed in energy, transport, agriculture, industry and health, the Iranian state news agency IRNA said.
Rouhani, who is on his first trip to Iraq since becoming president in 2013, hailed his country's "special" ties with its neighbor. Iran has itself threatened to pull out of the 2015 deal unless European Union powers demonstrably protect its economic benefits.
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President Rouhani (L) and Prime Minister Imran Khan (R).
Tehran sees the USA military presence at its doorstep in Iraq as a threat - one that could also undermine Iran's influence over Baghdad.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif alluded to that on Sunday while in Baghdad, saying any country that tries to interfere with the good Iran-Iraq relations would "be deprived of opportunities for itself". "However, it's also aware that given the level of interdependencies between the two sides, Iraq is not yet ready to fully comply with the United States demands even if it decides to do so", said Hamidreza Azizi, an assistant professor of regional studies at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran.
Last year, Iran's exports to Iraq amounted to almost $9 billion.
Prime Minister Imran khan expressed his heartfelt condolences on the recent terrorist attack in which 27 Iranian guards were killed.
Mr Rouhani's visit also indicates how relations between the two states have changed.