Amid tension, Turkey’s top diplomat due in Iraq on Thursday

Turkey's top diplomat is set to pay an official visit to Iraq on Thursday amid heightened tension between the U.S. and Iran.

Mevlut Cavusoglu is due in Iraq on Jan. 9 within the context of our intensified diplomatic efforts to alleviate the escalated tension in the aftermath of recent developments in the region, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Recent developments in the region, as well as bilateral issues, are expected to be discussed during the visit, it added.

Early Friday, Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) elite Quds Force, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad.

His death marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since President Donald Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who bestowed the country's highest honor on Soleimani last year, vowed "severe retaliation" in response to his killing.

Early Wednesday, Iran's IRGC launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq.

Source: Anadolu Agency