Spokesman: Iran studying U.S. proposals for talks on Iraq

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said on Saturday that Iran is studying U.S. proposals for talks on Iraq. “The United States has contacted Iran recently through different channels requesting talks on Iraqi issues, in particular about Iraq’s security,” Hosseini was quoted by the state television as saying.He added that Tehran is considering the proposals.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary AliLarijani said on Wednesday that Tehran would take part in an international conference of Iraqi neighbors so long as it was in the interests of its violence-torn neighbor.

“We are examining the proposal, and we will join the conference if it is expedient since we support solving problems of Iraq by all means,” Larijani was quoted by the state television as saying. According to the official, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had been contacted by his Iraqi counterpart on the conference, which Washington also intends to attend.

Larijani also suggested it would be ok for Iran if the United States attend the conference by saying “one cannot commit suicide because one is afraid of death”, meaning Tehran should not hurt itself just to avoid possible negative results over attendance of America.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared Tuesday that the country would join the mid-March meeting organized by the Iraqi government, saying she supported Iraq’s decision to invite Iran and Syria also.

Washington’s new position was considered by international media as a huge diplomatic turnabout since the Bush administration refused direct dialogue with Tehran over the Iraqi issue for several months.

The United States has persistently accused Iran of supporting Iraqi insurgents to fight with coalition forces since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, but Tehran has denied it by saying such allegations were deliberate intervention to the Iran-Iraq ties by the U.S.

Due to Iran’s what Americans called “bad role” in the war-torn Iraq, a number of Iranians in Iraq have been arrested and the U.S. also increasingly built up its military power in the Gulf region.

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