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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran-US talks on Iraq will take place in Baghdad, White House

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New York, May 13, IRNA
Iran and the United States will meet in Baghdad in the next few weeks to discuss Tehran taking a "productive role" in Iraq's security, the White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said on Sunday.

He said that US Ambassador to Iraq Chester Crocker will represent the United States.

The White House spokesman first announced direct talks on Iraq from Air Force One en route to Virginia with President George W. Bush.

"You could expect a meeting in the next few weeks with Ambassador Crocker and Iranians," Johndroe said.

"The purpose is to try to make sure that the Iranians play a productive role in Iraq."

Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari welcomed the talks by saying, " This is a positive sign the US is a major player and so is Iran, and there will be a room for some substantial discussions for the stability of Iraq."

The US formal call for talks with Iran on Iraq has been presented to Iranian officials through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said Sunday.

Hosseini made the remark in response to IRNA at his weekly press conference.

Iran has expressed its readiness to hold talks with the US on Iraq.

"Following consultations between Iranian and Iraqi officials, Tehran has agreed to hold negotiations with Washington to help relieve pains and sufferings of the Iraqi people, support the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and stabilize security and peace in that country," Hosseini said.

Hosseini added, "Date of the meeting and level of the negotiating team will be determined by end of the current week."

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