AFP: The United States asked Iran to live up to commitments to bring about a stable Iraq, saying it was critical for resuming a dialogue with Tehran on Iraqi security, the State Department said Wednesday. WASHINGTON, June 27, 2007 (AFP) – The United States asked Iran to live up to commitments to bring about a stable Iraq, saying it was critical for resuming a dialogue with Tehran on Iraqi security, the State Department said Wednesday.
It was responding to Iraqi requests for such a meeting, first held in May. Tehran has said it was awaiting a US response on resuming the dialogue.
“We’ll take a look and see when a meeting is appropriate but it is important for Iran to follow through on its stated desire to have a more stable Iraq and today, their activities remain in distinct contradiction to that stated goal,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.
Iran and the United States had their highest-level contact in 27 years on May 28 when US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker met Iranian ambassador Hassan Kazemi in Baghdad for talks limited to the security situation in Iraq.
Although Washington has not set any “hard benchmarks” for resumption of the talks with Iran, “it is one of those decisions where policymakers will take a look, see whether conditions are appropriate for a meeting,” McCormack said.
“As I have said the Iranians really have not followed through so much on what they said they’ll do,” he added.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said earlier this month that Baghdad was working to set up a second meeting between Iranian and US officials soon to prevent the arch-foes from using Iraq as a “battleground to settle scores.”
“After the response from the United States we will examine with a positive attitude the demand of the Iraqi government for a resumption in the discussions,” Zebari’s Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, said after meeting visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Tehran.
The United States broke off relations with Iran in 1980 after Islamic revolutionaries seized the US embassy in Tehran and held its diplomats hostage for 444 days.
The two countries remain at each other’s throats over a range of issues including the US presence in Iraq and Iran’s sensitive nuclear program.
US forces have frequently accused Iran of stoking the violence in Iraq by arming and training militias, allegations denied by Tehran.
Relations have been chilled further by the detention in Iraq by US forces of at least five Iranian officials who Tehran insists are diplomats, but who Washington says were members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.
Several Iranian-Americans have also been arrested while visiting Iran and charged with endangering national security.