First Published: 2007-05-18

Iran tells US to admit 'failure' in Iraq

Iranian FM says talks can progress if Americans show serious will to correct their failed policies in Iraq.


Middle East Online

May 28 talks will only revolve around the issue of Iraq

TEHRAN - Iran said on Friday the United States should admit to the "failure" of its Iraq policies at the upcoming Tehran-Washington meeting on Iraqi security if it wants the talks to make progress.

"If the Americans admit to the failure of their policies in Iraq, have a serious will to correct the current situation, and help the Iraqi people and government to implement security there, these talks can progress and create hope," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters.

US and Iranian envoys are to meet in Baghdad on May 28 for talks on Iraq's security in what is believed to be the first official ambassadorial encounter between the arch-foes in three decades.

Iran will send an "experienced diplomat who has been an ambassador" to meet US ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker, Mottaki said.

Both sides insist the talks would be limited to the security of Iraq and Mottaki said they would not discuss the release of seven Iranians seized by US forces in northern Iraq in January.

"The May 28 talks will only revolve around the issue of Iraq and a step towards helping security there," Mottaki said after meeting the families of the detainees who Iran insists were diplomats working for a consulate.

He said it was up to Iraqi officials to press for the release of the men accused by the United States of being intelligence agents.

Mottaki noted that Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari during a visit to Tehran last month had signalled the detainees could be freed in the Iranian month of Khordad (May 22 to June 21).

"Mr Zebari said the Americans would seek to release them in Khordad."

Mottaki added that the Iranian foreign ministry was preparing "to claim compensation from the Americans for raiding the consulate in Arbil, the detention of diplomats and the losses caused by the closure of the place."

The United States accuses Shiite-majority Iran of stirring sectarian violence in Iraq. It also charges that Tehran is supplying Iraqi fighters with roadside bombs, which have killed and maimed large numbers of US soldiers.

Iran denies the allegations and blames the US "occupiers" for the insecurity and instability of Iraq.


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