News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIran raises concerns with US about Iraq talks: FM

Iran raises concerns with US about Iraq talks: FM

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AFP: Iranian Foreign Minister Manochehr Mottaki said on Monday that Tehran had raised concerns with the United States over planned talks on the security of war-ravaged Iraq. TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian Foreign Minister Manochehr Mottaki said on Monday that Tehran had raised concerns with the United States over planned talks on the security of war-ravaged Iraq.

“We have some concerns about the next round of discussions with the Americans on Iraq. We have told the Americans our concerns and the Americans have responded to those concerns through the Iraqis and we are currently studying their response,” he told reporters.

Mottaki did not elaborate on the nature of the concerns but said Iran wanted the United States to “be committed to the outcome of the negotiations.”

Tehran requested a meeting with Washington to discuss Iraq’s security but the talks, scheduled for December 18, were postponed, and no new date was set.

The meeting, which aimed to explore ways of reducing violence in Iraq, was due to bring together diplomats, security experts and the military.

US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Kazemi Qomi have previously met in Baghdad in May and July.

Washington, which broke off diplomatic relations with Tehran after the Islamic revolution in 1979, accuses Iran of sending weapons to Iraq and funding Iraqi Shiite extremist groups.

Iran denies any involvement in violence in Iraq and believes that the departure of American troops is the first step to a restoration of security in the country.

Relations between the two countries hit a low in January after a standoff in the Strait of Hormuz between US warships and Iranian boats.

The countries are also at loggerheads over Iran’s nuclear programme, which Tehran insists is only for energy production but Washington fears could be a cover for the development of atomic weapons — a claim Tehran denies.

Despite a US intelligence report in December that said Iran halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003, Washington is leading a charge pushing for further sanctions to halt Tehran’s uranium enrichment programme.

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