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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
US and Iran to hold talks on Iraq
Manouchehr Mottaki
Mr Mottaki said Iraq would be the only item up for discussion
US and Iranian diplomats are to hold talks later this month on the security situation in Iraq, Iran's foreign minister has said.

Manouchehr Mottaki said discussions would take place in Iraq on 28 May.

"Nothing but Iraq is on the agenda," he told reporters at a conference in Islamabad, Pakistan.

A BBC correspondent says this will be the most significant meeting between US and Iranian officials since the Iranian revolution in 1979.

The US severed relations with Iran in 1980, after US citizens were taken hostage in Tehran.

Washington has accused Iran of fomenting violence in Iraq - a charge Iran denies.

The talks will be at the level of ambassadors.

Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Wednesday that the talks would serve to remind Washington of what he called its ''occupier's duty'' to provide security in Iraq

Climate of suspicion

The BBC's James Shaw in Baghdad says given the climate of suspicion and hostility which has existed between Iran and the US for nearly 30 years, it is doubtful that the talks stand any chance of yielding quick or substantial results.

He says there are huge differences in how both countries view the crisis in Iraq.

The Americans accuse Iran of arming Shia militias, while Iran says American and other Coalition forces should be withdrawn from Iraq.

US and Iranian officials have held low-key talks in the past.

There were discussions in Baghdad in March and brief exchanges between Mr Mottaki and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at a summit in Egypt earlier this month.




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