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Iranian MPs have mixed views on talks with U.S.

TEHRAN, May 15 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran has officially agreed to a request by Washington to hold direct talks with the U.S. on Iraq. In interviews with the Mehr News Agency, some lawmakers have welcomed the decision, some have criticized it, and others have said the talks should have tangible results for Iran, otherwise they would only benefit the U.S.

The U.S. has officially announced that Iranian and U.S. officials will hold direct talks in Baghdad in the next few weeks.

MP Shokrollah Attarzadeh calls the opening of dialogue with the U.S. a "wise decision" and a "victory" of the current government.

"Opening the door of negotiations with the United States is a victory for the ninth (Ahmadinejad) administration. It demonstrates the courage and bravery of the government," the conservative MP representing Bushehr pointed out.

"Since the Quran and Islam invite us to 'dialogue and good debate', we should not fear dialogue and should assert our position clearly and forcefully," he added.

MP Mohammad-Reza Mirtajedini of the conservative camp argues that the announcement by Tehran that it is ready to hold talks with Washington and review its ties with Egypt, "indicates a new determination by Iran to expand its diplomatic relations."

"In the modern world, relations between countries have complexities of their own. The conditions of each country for opening negotiations are not fixed, they depend on the time and place. And that is why one should not expect the lack of relations with certain countries should become a permanent and everlasting issue," the lawmaker from the majority faction stated.

Even the fact that the sides are talking about negotiations between Iran and the U.S. has led members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and certain other Arab states to have an "inclination" toward Iran, he noted.

However, this does not mean that negotiations will lead to ties between Iran and the U.S., he added.

MP Abbas-Ali Akhtari said negotiating with the U.S. in the current situation would only benefit the U.S.

Akhtari says Iran should "condition talks upon the removal of Iran's nuclear dossier from the UN Security Council and the recognition of Iran's inalienable right to nuclear technology."

MP Mohammad-Hassan Qafuri-Fard, who represents Tehran, criticized the government's decision to hold talks and calls it a "mistake".

The former presidential candidate from the conservative camp argues that as long as Washington does not halt its hostile acts toward Iran, there is no reason for talks.

He said there is no sign to indicate that the U.S. has altered its "arrogant nature".

The decision was a mistake, and those who have taken such a decision should explain why they have done so, he asserted.

"At this point in time, there is nothing good or expedient in negotiating with the United States," Qafuri-Fard noted.

Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Alaeddin Borujerdi also maintains that the situation is not ripe for negotiating and those lawmakers who are pushing for forming a parliamentary friendship group with the U.S. are unaware of the U.S. actions against Iran.

"Probably, these representatives don't have information about the United States' hostile actions against Iran," he told reporters when asked about efforts by some MPs to gather support for the establishment of a parliamentary friendship group with U.S. congressmen.

"The future talks between Iran and the United States will only be limited to Iraq and the problems between Iran and the United States will have no place in the negotiations, otherwise the U.S. will take new steps."

He cited "the repeated sanctions, the attack on Iran's official consulate in Iraq, and the detention of Iranian diplomats" as some of the United States' hostile acts against Iran.

Sabah Zanganeh, an expert on international relations, says a range of issues should be discussed in the talks because if the talks only center on using Iran's influence to reduce the United States' problems in Iraq, only Washington will benefit from the negotiations.

... Payvand News - 5/17/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/17/07 ... --

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