An Iranian vice president hosted a ceremony where women carried in the Koran, Islam's holy book, to music.
A new pact that faces final approval from parliament will keep US troops in Iraq for up to three more years. By June 2009 US forces will pull back to major bases.
In the south, the parliament voted to double its budget to cover military spending, and the north spent 20 percent of its budget on the military.
A 2004 classified order authorized the military to attack Al Qaeda operatives around the globe. As many as a dozen raids occurred under this mandate.
The goal is continuity in international relationships with a clear break from Bush’s approach.