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U.S. experiencing worst situation in Middle East in 50 years: Iranian FM

TEHRAN, June 18 (Mehr News Agency) -- In an interview with Arabic-language Al-Alam TV on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said that the United States is experiencing its worst situation in the Middle East over the past fifty years.

Regarding Iran-U.S. talks, he said, "With the intention of helping the Iraqi people and government, the Islamic Republic (of Iran) agreed to talk with Washington in the presence of various Iraqi officials."

He also declared that the dialogue is strictly focused on Iraq.

"We are considering the request from Iraqi officials and we will give our response once we've finished our considerations," Mottaki was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency. "These considerations will take another week or two."

Iranian ambassador to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Qomi and his U.S. counterpart Ryan Crocker held talks on May 28 on the Iraqi security issue, the negotiation was the first direct diplomatic contact between the two countries in 27 years.

Mottaki last week appeared to express readiness to continue the talks, during a visit to Tehran by Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh.

Referring to the U.S. need for help he said, "We have realized that, unfortunately, in its invasion of Iraq, the U.S. had no clear plan to result in its extradition from the present conditions."

"Storming the Iranian consulate in Irbil was a violation of international conventions and we have begun to follow up the issue on various levels," Mottaki stated.

When asked about the possibility of war, he said "We do not find the White House in a position to be able to impose another crisis on the American tax-payers."

According to Mottaki, a new Israeli invasion of Lebanon is possible but in case the Zionist regime commits such a big strategic mistake again, it will have to suffer another defeat.

Relations with Egypt

Concerning a rapprochement with Egypt, the foreign minister said that he had exchanged messages with Egyptian foreign minister to whom he referred as his "friend". He said there is a "political will" to revive relations and no major obstacles is on the way.

"We have good relations with Persian Gulf Arab states and we are co-devising initiatives with the Arab League," he observed.

... Payvand News - 6/19/07 ... --

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