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MP believes Iran-U.S. talks will be more fruitful if diplomats freed

TEHRAN, July 21 (Mehr News Agency) -- The Iranian parliament expects the United States to take practical steps for the release of the five Iranian diplomats because this can lead to more tangible results in the second round of talks between Iran and the U.S. on the security situation in Iraq, top legislator Alaeddin Borujerdi said here on Saturday.

U.S. troops stormed the Iranian consulate in Irbil, northern Iraq, on January 11 and arrested five diplomats under the pretext that they were fomenting violence in Iraq.

Asked if Tehran wants the release of the Irbil captives as a precondition to the second round of talks with the U.S., Borujerdi told the Mehr News Agency, "The two issues are not related, but we expect the U.S. forces to release them as soon as possible."

The Iranian and U.S. ambassadors to Baghdad held talks about Iraq's security in Baghdad on May 28. The second round of talks is going to be held soon.

The security situation in Iraq and the stability of its government is a very important issue for Iran, Borujerdi added.

"It is natural that our country, as a friend and neighbor with the same religion, would help the Iraqi nation in order to support the country's political will," said Borujerdi, the chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.

Tehran greatly respects the government of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as the representative of the Iraqi nation, he noted.

Even though Tehran considers holding talks and establishing relations with the United States as its red line, the Islamic Republic accepted to negotiate with the U.S. at the request of the Iraqi officials, the top lawmaker explained.

Obviously Tehran will not miss any opportunity to help the Iraqi government to resolve the country's problems, he added.

Asked if the negotiations will influence Iran's nuclear issue, Borujerdi said if the talks will be successful, it can influence other issues as well.

... Payvand News - 7/22/07 ... --

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