Iran won't talk to US on Iraq till attacks stop

Iran said Tehran saw no need for more talks with the United States about Iraqi security until US attacks stop.

Iran won't talk to US on Iraq till attacks stop

A senior Iranian official said on Saturday Tehran saw no need for more talks with the United States about Iraqi security until what he described as U.S. attacks on Iraqis stopped, Iran's Fars News Agency reported.

Iranian and U.S. officials held three rounds of talks last year in Baghdad, high-profile meetings between two foes who have not had diplomatic ties since 1980 and rarely hold discussions. But plans for a fourth round have faced a series of delays.

Washington accuses Tehran of funding, training and equipping militias in Iraq, a charge Iran denies. Tehran blames the presence of U.S. troops for violence and instability in Iraq.

"Should the Americans' attacks against civilians and the defenceless Iraqi people come to an end, Iran will consider their request for the fourth round of negotiations," Fars quoted the official as saying.

It said the official was a senior member of the negotiating team with U.S. officials but did not give his name.

"Under the current conditions, with the Americans' massive attacks on the Iraqi people in various cities, no need is felt for holding negotiations with that country about Iraq's security," the official said.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman has regularly said in recent weeks that no new date has been fixed about any new round of discussions. When talks was delayed in February, Iran said "technical" issues were to blame.

Iran said it was holding talks this week with a visiting Iraqi delegation to help end fighting in its neighbour. Iraqi officials said the delegation was sent to tell Iranian officials to stop backing Shi'ite militias.

Iran, like Iraq, is majority Shi'ite Muslim.

Analysts say Tehran wants to keep a friendly, Shi'ite-led government in charge but wants to ensure rival Iraqi Shi'ite factions look to Iran as a power broker. They say Iran also wants to make U.S. troops do not get an easy ride in Iraq.

Reuters
Last Mod: 03 Mayıs 2008, 15:12
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