AFP: Tehran has postponed a fourth round of talks between the United States and Iran on security issues facing Iraq that had been expected to take place in Baghdad this week, the US embassy said on Thursday. BAGHDAD (AFP) Tehran has postponed a fourth round of talks between the United States and Iran on security issues facing Iraq that had been expected to take place in Baghdad this week, the US embassy said on Thursday.
No reason was given for the delay, a US embassy official said.
“We have been informed by the government of Iraq that Iran has again asked to postpone trilateral talks regarding security in Iraq,” the official told AFP.
“We have been saying for weeks that we are ready to sit down for talks. It is increasingly clear that Iran is not. We are interested in improving security in Iraq, which is why we have said we are ready to sit down.”
An Iraqi foreign ministry official confirmed the meeting had been delayed.
“The talks have been postponed. They are not cancelled. No reason was given,” a foreign ministry official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity and without elaborating.
The postponement came as Iraq’s government said on Thursday that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was due in Baghdad on March 2 for the first visit by an Iranian president to the neighbouring country.
The US-Iranian meeting in Baghdad would have been the fourth round of talks between the three parties.
It had originally been slated for December 18 with Iraqi authorities touting it as a “technical meeting” at experts level rather than a meeting of ambassadors.
However it was postponed, again at the request of Iran. Late January, Iranian officials said they had “some concerns” about the next round of discussions but did not elaborate.
The technical committee is made up of security and military experts as well as diplomats. It focuses on security rather than political issues.
Iran and the United States held three rounds of talks over Iraq last year amid mutual distrust.
Washington, which broke off diplomatic relations with Tehran after the 1979 Islamic revolution, accuses Iran of sending weapons to Iraq and funding Iraqi Shiite extremist groups.
Iran, which opposed the US-led invasion of 2003, denies any involvement in violence in Iraq and believes the withdrawal of US troops is the first step toward a restoration of security in the country.