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US, Iranian Envoys Hold Security Talks on Iraq


24 July 2007

Envoys from the United States and Iran are holding a second round of talks on the security situation in Iraq, in a rare meeting between the two sides.

U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, met with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, in Baghdad Tuesday.

The United States says the talks will focus solely on the security situation in Iraq, despite tensions over Iran's nuclear program and Iranian-Americans detained by Tehran.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says ambassador Crocker will press Iran to change its behavior in Iraq during the talks.

The United States has accused Iran of supporting Shi'ite militias in Iraq, a charge Iran denies.

McCormack says the United States has observed no change in behavior from Iran since the first round of talks in May.

The United States and Iran have had little official contact for 27 years.

The United States broke diplomatic relations in April, 1980 after Iranian activists seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took its staff hostage the previous November.

Relations between Iran and Iraq have improved since the ouster of Saddam Hussein as Iraqi leader. Both countries have Shi'ite majorities. Saddam's Sunni-led government fought Iran in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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