Iraqi Official: Iran-US Talks Postponed

A02510727.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- A meeting brokered by Baghdad between Iran and the United States over Iraq’s security was postponed Thursday, an Iraqi government official said, a day after Washington alleged that no such talks were planned.

The official said the Iranian delegation, which arrived Wednesday in Baghdad after Iran announced the talks would take place Thursday, would return to Tehran after visiting Shiite Muslim shrines in Baghdad and the holy city of Karbala.

An Iranian delegation headed by Reza Amiri Moghaddam arrived in Baghdad for the talks, which were slated to take place on Thursday.

But American officials said no such meeting was planned.

The US Embassy in Baghdad said Thursday it would not comment further and referred to remarks made Wednesday by State Department spokesman Tom Casey in Washington.

“Arrangements have not been made,” spokesman Tom Casey said. “The US government has no plans to have a meeting.”

It was not immediately known why there was a discrepancy in the statements.

The US and Iranian ambassadors held the first round of talks in May, a rare meeting between the two countries, which have not had formal relations since early after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

The sides met again late last summer at the ambassadorial level, and there has been one other meeting at the expert level.

Another round of expert-level talks had been slated for Feb. 15, which was later postponed.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this week dismissed US accusations about Iran’s negative interference in Iraq, and bashed the US, saying its presence in Iraq has caused violence in the war-ravaged country.

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