Reuters: Iran is ready to hold more talks with its arch enemy the United States to help secure Iraq, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran is ready to hold more talks with its arch enemy the United States to help secure Iraq, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday.
In the most high-profile meeting of the two foes in almost three decades, Iran and the United States held talks in May to discuss security in Iraq. The two countries have not had diplomatic ties since shortly after Iran’s 1979 revolution.
“We are ready to help preserve unity in Iraq … and establish peace and security there,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
“We did not reject the first round of talks … The situation is the same now … We are ready to help.”
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said earlier this month he was pressing Washington and Tehran to hold a second round of talks in Baghdad but that no date had been set.
A senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official also said this month that Iran was “available” for more talks, without saying when they might take place. Officials had previously been saying Iran was reviewing the possibility of another round.
Washington accuses Iran of fomenting violence in Iraq. Shi’ite Iran denies backing the insurgency in Iraq and accuses Washington of igniting tensions between Iraq’s Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims. Analysts say Washington and Tehran are both concerned about worsening violence, pushing them to agree to meet.
Washington has been leading diplomatic efforts to isolate Iran over its nuclear ambitions, which it says is aimed at making an atomic bomb — a charge Iran denies. But both sides say any talks on Iraq will not deal with other disputes.
Iran has rejected repeated U.N. demands to halt uranium enrichment, which is used to make fuel for power stations but also has military applications.
Iran says it needs its atomic program to satisfy its booming electricity demand.