News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIran team leaves without US talks on Iraq

Iran team leaves without US talks on Iraq

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AFP: An Iranian delegation left Baghdad for home on Thursday without holding talks with officials from archfoe the United States on the security situation in Iraq, an Iranian official said.
BAGHDAD, March 6, 2008 (AFP) — An Iranian delegation left Baghdad for home on Thursday without holding talks with officials from archfoe the United States on the security situation in Iraq, an Iranian official said.

“The delegation has left Baghdad because the Americans refused to conduct any negotiations,” the official close to Tehran’s negotiators told AFP.

Delegation head Reza Amiri Moghaddam had been quoted by the Iranian media as saying a new round of talks would be held on Thursday in Baghdad, but both US and Iraqi officials denied any such dialogue had been scheduled.

“The government of Iraq was busy with the visit of the Iranian president and there was no time to fix the date for the talks. There were no talks fixed for today,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told AFP.

US embassy spokesman Philip Reeker also said there were “no trilateral talks today.”

Iran and the United States held three rounds of talks about Iraq last year despite mounting tensions over the Iranian nuclear programme. The two foes have had no diplomatic relations since 1980.

A fourth round of talks was scheduled for last month but postponed.

The fact that such talks took place at all, given the acrimonious history between the two, was hailed as a landmark event.

US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Kazemi Qomi held face-to-face talks in May and and July last year, the highest level public contacts between the two sides for 27 years.

Both sides also met at experts’ level last August, but there has been no meeting since.

The United States accuses Iran of meddling in Iraq by helping to train Shiite militias and shipping in armour-piercing bombs for attacks against US troops. Iran vehemently denies the charges.

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