Iran says US source of Iraq crisis

Ali Khamenei tells Iraq's president that the countries in the region should stand up to the big powers.

    Talabani met both Khamenei, Iran's spiritual leader , and Ahmadinejad, the country's president [AFP]

    These insecurities "will harm the US itself since a few years ago it armed a group in Afghanistan and they witnessed its repercussions," he said on Tuesday, referring implicitly to Al-Qaeda.

    "The nations of the region have this ability to stand against the big powers and if these nations decide they can do anything, including making the US kneel," he warned.

    Talabani also met his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who promised that Iran was ready to provide for Iraq's "welfare and progress."

    Talabani, who was last in Iran in November, is expected to visit ailing Iraqi Shia politician Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, who is in Iran for cancer treatment.

    "During Mr.Talabani's visit, the issue of continuing talks with the United States will be discussed," Mehdi Mostafavi, Iranian deputy foreign minister, was quoted by state news agency IRNA as telling reporters earlier.

    "Also the issue of abduction of five Iranian diplomats kidnapped by the American forces will be discussed," he added.

    US-Iran ties

    The United States severed relations with Iran in 1980 after Islamic revolutionary students took over its embassy in Tehran.

    The two countries held their highest-level public contacts in 27 years on May 28, with Tehran calling for US troops to be pulled out of Iraq and Washington accusing Iran of stoking the insurgency.

    Relations have been chilled further by the detention in Iraq by US forces of at least five Iranian officials who Tehran insists are diplomats.

    US forces in Iraq have frequently accused Iran of stoking the violence in the war-torn country by arming and training militias, allegations denied by Tehran.

    Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, said earlier this month that Baghdad was working to set up a second meeting between Iranian and US officials soon to prevent the arch-foes from using Iraq as a "battleground to settle scores."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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