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Zarif to represent Iran in Tehran-Washington talks on Iraq: report

TEHRAN, May 21 (Mehr News Agency) -- According to a report by the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Alawsat published on Monday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry intends to announce that its ambassador to the UN, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, will be Iran's representative in the planned dialogue with the U.S. on Iraq.

Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian and U.S. diplomats will meet on May 28 to discuss the security situation in Iraq at the ambassadorial level.

The U.S. has announced its ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, will represent Washington in the negotiations.

The daily claimed that despite some differences over the composition of the Iranian mission for talks with the U.S., the Iranian Foreign Ministry has finally decided to dispatch a delegation headed by Zarif to Iraq for the talks with the U.S.

The paper also claimed that some Iranian officials have proposed that Mohammad Javad Larijani, the former deputy foreign minister and current director of the Judiciary Department for International Affairs, should head the Iranian delegation.

Iraq says Iran-US talks to be held behind closed doors

Baghdad, May 22, IRNA - An Iraqi official said here Tuesday primary talks between Iran and the US on Iraq security would be held behind closed doors.

The Iraqi state-run daily `Al-Sabah' quoted Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Hamud as saying representatives of Iran and the US would hold their primary talks behind closed doors to prepare ground for holding bilateral talks about Iraq at higher levels in the future.

He said the meeting between the Iranian and US representatives would be very significant to help stem the bloodbath in the country.

Iraq welcomes talks between Iran and the US to patch up differences between the two sides over Iraq and regards the issue of negotiations as beneficial for Baghdad, he stated.

He said based on international treaties, Iraq has its own sovereignty and does not accept interference in its domestic affairs.

Iran and the US are expected to hold the first round of talks between Iran and US on Iraq security in Baghdad on June 28 in presence of the Iraqi officials.

Iran-US issues likely to be discussed during Baghdad talks - Diplomat

Amman, May 22, IRNA - Secretary of the Human Rights Headquarters of Iran's Judiciary Mohammad-Javad Larijani said on Monday that it is possible that Iranian and US officials discuss issues related to Iran during US-Iran talks on Iraq to be held in Baghdad on May 28.

Larijani made the remarks in his talks to IRNA before leaving the Jordanian capital after attending the World Economic Forum which ended in the Dead Sea shores in Jordan Sunday evening.

Referring to the upcoming Iran-US talks on Iraq, Larijani said "The talks will be held upon the request of our Iraqi friends and for the sake of assisting the people of Iraq.

"We will not spare any efforts to restore peace and stability to Iraq and support the country's territorial integrity," Larijani said adding, "And the (US-Iran) talks are to focus on these issues if held at all."

However, the diplomat has not rejected the possibility of any US-Iran talks about the issues related to Iran.

"In fact, talking with US over issues related to Iran is not an impossible matter, however, this depends on the subject matters," Larijani stressed.

"If (former US vice-president) Dick Cheney is supposed to continue intimidating Iran on a daily basis and US officials continue allocating budget, as they claim, to change the Iranian regime and openly show hostility towards Iran, then any clever person will ask why they should talk at all?" the diplomat said.

He added the upcoming US-Iran talks on Iraq would be a "good test for the US.

"If Washington shows good will and be committed to the conventional principles of negotiations then this will be effective in resolving other regional problems too," Larijani added.

US allegations against Iran "unfounded": Hosseini

Tehran, May 22, IRNA - Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini assessed as "unfounded" allegations made by the US against Iran.

Hosseini made the statement in an interview with the Austrian daily `Der Standard' while asked about the US allegations that Iran was interfering in Iraq's domestic affairs.

"The US, itself, is the main factor behind insecurity and instability in the region," he said.

He added that Iran attaches special significance to security in Iraq as its neighboring state.

As to the issue of detention of Iranian diplomats in Iraq, Hosseini said the US has no evidence against the five consular staff detained in the Iraqi city of Erbil.

US forces broke into Iran's consulate in Erbil on January 11, 2007, after disarming its guards and using force to break the gate of the consulate building. They ransacked the consulate, seized six consular staff (one of whom has been released). They also seized the consulate's computers and documents.

... Payvand News - 5/22/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/22/07 ... --

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