Iran Raises New Condition For Talks With U.S. Over Iraq

Wednesday, June 27th 2007, 7:02 am
By: News On 6

TEHRAN, Iran (AP)_ Iran will ``review with a positive point of view'' an Iraqi request for a new round of Iranian-American talks, but only after the United States responds to the invitation, the Islamic republic's foreign minister said Wednesday.

``Iraqi officials have proposed this'' (new round of talks), the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying.

``We will review it with positive point of view after America's response to the proposal,'' he said.

The announcement came after a one-day visit by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to Tehran on Tuesday for talks with Iranian leaders.

The U.S. and Iran held groundbreaking ambassador-level discussions on May 28 in Baghdad to address security in Iraq.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari later told The Associated Press that Iraq was planning for a second meeting between American and Iranian officials.

But since the first round of talks, tensions have been rising between Iran and the U.S. over Tehran's detention of four Iranian-Americans scholars and activists charged with endangering national security. The U.S. has demanded their release, saying the charges against them are false.

Meanwhile, Iran is angered over the January detention of five Iranian officials by U.S. forces in Iraq and has warned the U.S. would ``regret'' the move.

Iranian officials have also accused the United States of hindering better relations between Iran and its war-torn Iraqi neighbor.

Iran considers the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq a threat to its security and has demanded they leave.

Washington, meanwhile, accuses Shiite Iran of arming and financing Shiite militias fighting American and Iraqi troops in Iraq _ charges Tehran denies.

The U.S. and Iran are also at odds over Tehran's nuclear program, which Washington and its allies contend aims at making nuclear weapons and Tehran insists is peaceful.