News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIran-U.S. to hold expert level talks on Iraq: envoy

Iran-U.S. to hold expert level talks on Iraq: envoy

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Reuters: Iran, the United States and Iraq will hold expert level talks next week to define the work of a security committee they agreed to set up in July to help restore security in Iraq, an Iranian news agency reported on Friday. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran, the United States and Iraq will hold expert level talks next week to define the work of a security committee they agreed to set up in July to help restore security in Iraq, an Iranian news agency reported on Friday.

The two arch foes Tehran and Washington, which cut diplomatic relations shortly after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, held two rounds of rare talks in Baghdad in May and July to find ways to improve security in Iraq.

In the second round of talks, held on July 24 in Baghdad, representatives from the United States, Iran and Iraq agreed to establish a trilateral committee to investigate issues such as support for militias and al Qaeda in Iraq.

“To define what issues the (security) committee would discuss and in what framework it will start its work, an agreement was reached to hold expertise meetings,” Iran’s envoy to Baghdad Hassan Kazemi-Qomi told the ISNA news agency.

“This will take place early next week,” the envoy added.

Washington accuses Shi’ite Muslim Iran of stirring up violence in Iraq. Iran denies the charge and blames the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 for the bloodshed between Iraq’s majority Shi’ite and minority Sunni Arabs.

The two rounds of Baghdad talks, which only dealt with the situation in Iraq, were the highest profile face-to-face dialogue between Iran and the United States since 1979.

Tehran and Washington are also at loggerheads over Iran’s disputed nuclear work.

The United States says Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian program. Iran denies the charge, saying it wants to obtain the technology to generate electricity.

Two sets of sanctions have been imposed on the Islamic state for defying repeated U.N. resolutions demanding it suspend all nuclear fuel activity.

Separately, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at a major planned U.S. arms package to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States but said it did not worry his country, echoing comments by other senior Iranian officials this week.

The United States, trying to assure Gulf allies that it remains committed to the region despite its problems in Iraq and the growing strength of Iran, has said it was preparing a major package of arms sales to regional countries.

“All America’s efforts are aimed at creating divisions between our brothers in the region … We are not concerned about this arms sale,” ISNA quoted Ahmadinejad as telling a group of Algerian journalists late on Thursday.

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