Iran: Baghdad Conference a 1st step for Future Talks

A0174863.jpgIran on Sunday termed the international conference on Iraq’s security held in Baghdad the previous day as “serious and constructive” and said it had prepared the ground for future talks at minister level. “The conference realized its main aim which was serious support for the Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government, and prepared grounds for future talks at (foreign) minister level,” Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told Islamic Republic News Network (IRNN).

A second conference at foreign minister level is scheduled to be held next month in Istanbul.

Araqchi, who represented Tehran at the conference, said that Iran entered the conference “with a spirit of understanding” and expressed its concern over the situation in Iraq.

The deputy minister denied any direct talks in Baghdad with representatives of Iran’s political arch-foe the United States and said the two sides only talked within the session, and only about Iraq.

He added there had been “heated” discussions with the US side over the six Iranian diplomats detained by American forces in Iraq. Tehran says the diplomatic immunity of the Iranian detainees should be respected.

Araqchi further said that for preventing the escalation of violence inside Iraq, the US-led coalition forces should outline a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq and allow the local government to take care of state affairs and security.

Araqchi voiced Iran’s full support for the Iraqi government and nation but said that without the withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq, the spiral of violence would continue.

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