News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIran dismisses US Iraq report and wants serious talks

Iran dismisses US Iraq report and wants serious talks

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AFP: Iran on Wednesday dismissed the latest US strategy report on Iraq as “unrealistic” and warned it would not take part in future talks on Iraqi security unless Washington was serious. TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran on Wednesday dismissed the latest US strategy report on Iraq as “unrealistic” and warned it would not take part in future talks on Iraqi security unless Washington was serious.

Iran’s top national security official Ali Larijani said Washington was wrong to say improvements in security in Iraq were thanks to its “surge” in troop numbers. Credit should go to the Iraqi government and its neighbours, he said.

The top US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, told Congress in testimony on Monday that the “surge” of some 30,000 more troops into Baghdad was working and that US troop numbers could recede by next summer.

“They are giving the credit to a few troops that they added. I think that the picture of Iraq portrayed in the report was unrealistic. It was not in line with reality,” Larijani told reporters.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini added: “This report will not save the United States from the Iraqi quagmire.

“It was clear from the very start that this report was being prepared in advance of the next US (presidential) elections as a response to the needs of the neo-conservatives to justify continuing to occupy Iraq,” he added, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Larijani meanwhile warned the United States that Tehran would not be interested in having further talks over security in Iraq if all Washington wanted was to have “fun” in the discussions.

The US and Iranian ambassadors to Baghdad have held two rounds of talks on Iraqi security this year in landmark meetings that were the highest level contact between the two sides in years.

“If the main objective is to help the Iraqi government and improve security, definitely we will support such a move and continue our negotiations with the United States,” Larijani said.

“But if it is going to be a kind of fun, we are beyond that stage and we should look at the issue in a more serious way. We should be serious about the fate of the Iraqi people.”

Petraeus had on Monday also accused Iran of fighting a “proxy war” in Iraq through the covert operations unit of the Revolutionary Guards — the Quds force.

His remarks were the latest complaint over Iran’s role in Iraq by the United States, which accuses Tehran of shipping bombs into the country for attacks on US troops and of helping to train Shiite militias.

“Such accusations are without foundation and only seek to transfer responsibility for the grave errors committed by American leaders to neighbouring countries,” said Hosseini.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States would focus on protecting the territorial integrity of Iraq after warnings by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran would fill the vacuum left behind with a planned US troop withdrawal.

Iraq “has very troublesome neighbours… And I would note that President Ahmadinejad said if the United States leaves Iraq, Iran is prepared to fill the vacuum,” said the chief US diplomat. “That is what is at stake here.”

Rice said that together with the allies in the “war on terror,” the United States would “resist both terrorism and Iranian aggression” in Iraq.

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