AFP: Iran’s influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani expressed disappointment on Friday at the lack of progress in talks with the United States aimed at restoring security in Iraq. TEHRAN, Aug 10, 2007 (AFP) – Iran’s influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani expressed disappointment on Friday at the lack of progress in talks with the United States aimed at restoring security in Iraq.
“Some rather ineffective talks have started. We hope realities are taken into account. So far the Americans have not sent good signals, claiming in every meeting that we are interfering there,” Rafsanjani said in his Friday prayer sermon.
He was referring to two rounds of talks with arch-foe the United States, aimed at curbing the rampant insurgency in Iraq.
The meetings in Baghdad have been marked by disagreements over who is to blame for the bloodshed.
Washington accuses Shiite-majority Iran of fomenting sectarian violence in Iraq and providing militants with sophisticated roadside bombs. Tehran denies the allegation, and blames the US-led occupation for the insecurity in its western neighbour.
“If we do not criticise the occupation of Iraq the talks will not bear much fruit,” said Rafsanjani, a pragmatist cleric who heads the country’s top arbitration body, the Expediency Council.
Iran’s leaders on Thursday told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that American troops must leave his country, in talks that sparked unease in Washington.
US President George W. Bush issued a new warning over Tehran’s alleged meddling in Iraq and warned Maliki against too warm ties with Iran’s Shiite leaders.
Washington is also leading international efforts to stop Iran’s controversial nuclear programme which the United States says is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, a claim denied by Iran.
Rafsanjani said on Friday the United States had “extended a needy hand to Iran” in a bid to resolve the crisis in Iraq.
“If the United States does not correct itself it will not achieve its goals. Wherever it goes it realises that it should satisfy Iran. That is what happened in Palestine and in Lebanon,” he said.
“The same thing could happen in other places in future too if it continues with its arrogant and tyrannical attitude.”