News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIraqi official denies US-Iranian talks in Iraq

Iraqi official denies US-Iranian talks in Iraq

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Reuters: A spokesman for Iraq’s president denied a media report on Saturday that quoted the head of state as saying U.S. and Iranian officials held talks on Iraq. BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A spokesman for Iraq’s president denied a media report on Saturday that quoted the head of state as saying U.S. and Iranian officials held talks on Iraq.

Iraq’s independent Sharqiya television channel said Jalal Talabani told writers at a cultural festival that U.S.-Iranian talks “dedicated to the Iraq issue” took place “a while ago” in the Kurdish lakeside resort of Dukan in northern Iraq.

“That meeting never took place,” presidential spokesman Kameran Qaradaghi said.

A U.S. embassy spokeswoman said she was unaware of any such meeting. Iranian officials made no immediate comment.

Iranian and U.S. officials have said in the past that they would hold talks to discuss Iraq, without giving a date.

The United States accuses Iran of fuelling violence in Iraq, a charge dismissed by Tehran, which says the presence of U.S. troops is to blame.

Both sides, which have not had diplomatic relations since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, have said any such talks would only cover Iraq and have yet to decide on how and where discussions might take place.

Some analysts said they could open a conduit for discussion of other issues, particularly the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran and Iraq fought from 1980-88 and until U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 had frosty relations.

Iraq’s newly dominant Islamist leaders have close ties to fellow Shi’ite Muslims ruling Iran.

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