Iran suspends talks with US on security in Iraq

Iran accused the United States on Monday of a "massacre" of the Iraqi people and said further talks with Washington about improving security in its neighbour would be meaningless now.

Iran suspends talks with US on security in Iraq
The Foreign Ministry also voiced support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in cracking down on "illegal" Shi'ite militias, a few days after an Iraqi delegation visited Tehran to urge it to stop backing such armed groups.

Washington accuses Iran of funding, arming and training Iraqi militias to attack U.S. and Iraqi government forces, despite its public commitment to stabilising Iraq.

Tehran blames the violence on the U.S. occupation in Iraq.

The two old foes have held three rounds of talks in Baghdad since May last year on ways of reducing violence in Iraq, but a planned fourth meeting has been postponed repeatedly.

"Right now, what we observe in Iraq is a massacre of the Iraqi nation by the occupying forces," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a news conference.

"Concerning this situation, talks with America will have no results and will be meaningless."

A unnamed Iranian official was last week quoted as saying Tehran saw no need for more talks with the United States on Iraq until what he described as U.S. attacks on Iraqis stopped, but Hosseini's comments were the first such remarks made publicly.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in Baghdad on Sunday that Maliki had ordered the formation of a committee to compile evidence of Iranian "interference" in Iraq that would then be presented to Tehran.

Dabbagh said Iranian officials who met the delegation had denied any meddling in Iraq, and Hosseini said Tehran had always supported stability and security in its neighbour.

"What Iran has repeatedly said ... was its support for Mr Maliki's government," he said. "Iran believes that illegal armed groups that committed crimes should be legally confronted."

"Tehran has repeatedly used its capacity to strengthen stability in Iraq among various groups," Hosseini added.

Reuters
Last Mod: 05 Mayıs 2008, 15:49
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