Hassan Kazemi Qomi, the Iranian ambassador countered Crocker's remarks by saying that Tehran was helping Iraq deal with the security situation but Iraqis were "victimised by terror and the presence of foreign forces" on their territory.
 
US 'mistakes'
 
Mohammed Ali Hosseini, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, said: "These declarations aim to deceive public opinion which is troubled by the United States' warlike policy ... Americans would be better off finding ways to get out of the Iraqi crisis."

"They [the US] acknowledged making mistakes and this is a step forward in itself ... it's now up to the Americans to rectify their mistakes"

Hassan Kazemi Qomi, the Iranian ambassador to Iraq

Qomi said his delegation also demanded the release of five Iranians detained by US forces in Iraq.

The United States has said the five were linked to Iran's elite Quds Force, which it has accused of arming and training Iraqi fighters. Iran says the five are diplomats who were legally in Iraq.

Qomi said: "There are also Iranian citizens who have been detained on legally entering Iraq. We demanded their release too. We discussed the creation of a mechanism to implement what we achieved in the first round of talks.

"They [the US] acknowledged making mistakes and this is a step forward in itself and it's now up to the Americans to rectify their mistakes."

Seeking support

The talks were hosted by al-Maliki in his offices inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

Al-Maliki said at the start of the meeting: "We hope to see your support in stabilising Iraq. We do not want to see Iraq interfering in the affairs of others, nor do we want anyone to interfere in its internal affairs."

After the meeting Iraqi officials announced that the three sides had agreed to form a tripartite security committee to fight Al-Qaeda in Iraq, support the Iraqi government and increase security along the Iran-Iraq border.

The United States broke off relations with Iran in 1980, after Islamic revolutionaries seized the US embassy in Tehran and held its diplomats hostage for 444 days.

The two countries remain at odds over a range of issues including Iran's nuclear programme, which the United States claims is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, an accusation denied by Tehran.