Iraqi troops will be banned from carrying out raids on mosques, churches and universities, Iraqi Defence Minister Saadoun Dulaimi has said.
The move follows complaints about the conduct of Iraqi soldiers during security operations. It is being seen as an attempt to ease tensions with the Sunni minority.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi is in Baghdad on the first visit by a senior Iranian official since Saddam Hussein’s fall.
Iraqi officials say Mr Kharrazi is due to hold talks with a range of Iraqi officials on non-interference in domestic affairs, economic matters and issues relating to the war between the two countries in the 1980s.
Iran and Iraq re-established diplomatic relations last year. Many of Iraq’s new ministers, including Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, have close ties to Tehran.
In violence on Tuesday:
A civil servant at Iraq’s anti-corruption commission, Alaeddin Wazir al-Obeidi, is shot dead in Baghdad
A man and his three sons are killed by unknown attackers in a village near Mahawil, 70km south of Baghdad
A US soldier is killed, and another wounded in a roadside attack north of Baghdad, the US military said
‘Source of fear’
Explaining the decision to ban raids on mosques, churches and universities, Mr Dulaimi told reporters: “We received many complaints over the last days. We shouldn’t be a source of fear among Iraqis.
“We hear soldiers are raiding mosques and places of worship and terrifying civilians, children and worshippers.”
Mr Dulaimi is a Sunni Iraqi who took up the defence ministry portfolio last week after much prevarication.
BBC Middle East analyst roger Hardy says the announcement is clearly a gesture directed at Sunni clerics and designed to show that the new Shia-led government bears them no ill-will.
How far the measure will tie the hands of US forces, he adds, is not clear.
The Americans say they have frequently been fired on from mosques – and that mosques have often been used to store weapons.