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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran optimistic, U.S. cautious as sides meet after three decades

RIA Novosti

28/05/2007 20:33 MOSCOW, May 28 (RIA Novosti) - The Iranian president said Monday that the highest-profile U.S.-Iranian talks in nearly 30 years had no connection to the nuclear controversy surrounding Tehran, while the U.S. again warned Iran against arming and training its enemies in Iraq.

"Today's talks have nothing to do with nuclear issues," the most contentious aspect of U.S.-Iranian relations, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. He expressed the hope that the meeting would result in progress for the troubled people of Iraq.

The four-hour talks between the U.S. and Iranian Ambassadors Ryan Crocker and Hassan Kazemi Qomi in the U.S.-controlled "Green Zone" in Baghdad ended in smiles earlier Monday, but featured mutual accusations of supporting opponents and adversaries.

While Tehran demanded that U.S. Navy carriers leave the Persian Gulf and accused the U.S. of supporting Mujahadeen-e-Khalq, the largest and most extreme of Iranian anti-government groups allegedly with bases in Iraq, the White House hit back with charges that Iran provides weapons and explosives to anti-American Shiite militias in Iraq.

"Some problems have been raised and studied, and I think that was a positive step," an optimistic Tehran diplomat told Iranian media.

"In the political field, the two sides agreed to support and strengthen the Iraqi government," he said.

The U.S. envoy was more cautious.

"In terms of what happens next, we are going to want to wait and see not what is said next but what happens on the ground, whether we start to see some indications of change of Iranian behavior," he said after the meeting.

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