AFP: Iran said on Wednesday it would take part in a conference of Middle East and Western powers to be held in Kuwait in April to debate security in war-ravaged Iraq. TEHRAN (AFP) Iran said on Wednesday it would take part in a conference of Middle East and Western powers to be held in Kuwait in April to debate security in war-ravaged Iraq.
“Iran will actively participate in Iraq’s neighbouring countries conference which going to be held in Kuwait in April,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, without confirming the level of Tehran’s involvement.
“We believe that the issue of Iraq’s security must be on the agenda of the regional nations,” Mottaki said at a joint press conference with visiting Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah.
The conference, which was announced at the last such meeting in Istanbul in November, will be attended by Iraq’s neighbours, UN Security Council permanent members including the United States and other G8 members.
Tehran is vehemently against the US military presence in neighbouring Iraq and has repeatedly asked for a troop withdrawal.
During the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein, many of Iraq’s current leaders sought sanctuary in Iran, which has a powerful Shiite majority, and both countries continue to have strong ties.
Iran’s archfoe Washington has accused Tehran of supporting militias that attack its forces in Iraq.
The announcement comes as tensions increase between Tehran and Washington over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and following a charged showdown between the US warships and Iranian boats in the Strait of Hormuz.
US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East on Wednesday, has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran, saying that Tehran’s role in “fomenting violence” in Iraq has been exposed.