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FM: Iran mulling 4th round of talks with US on Iraq

Tehran, Nov 30, IRNA - Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here Thursday that Iran is considering the fourth round of talks with the US on Iraq after carefully studying the outcome of former talks with Washington on the issue.

Mottaki told IRNA on the sidelines of a meeting with a group of Basijis (volunteer forces) that Iran has at the proposal of the Iraqi officials and formal request of the Americans agreed in principle to enter a fresh round of talks on Iraq.

He said, "We believe in the kind of talks that would yield positive results in line with interests of the Iraqi people and stabilize the government in the country."

Asked on the timing of the fourth round of Iran-US talks on Iraq, Mottaki said the date will be announced after necessary studies.

To a question whether issues other than Iraq would be discussed in the talks, Mottaki said, "Any issues somehow related to Iraq would be discussed."

Also asked whether the fate of the Iranian diplomats kidnapped by the US troops in Iraq would be discussed, Mottaki said, "No agenda for the talks has yet been drawn up."

He added, "To follow up the fate of the kidnapped diplomats in Iraq it is not needed to have such a dialogue. The issue has been put on agenda of Iran's diplomacy and would be seriously followed." He noted that the issue has been pursued through different messages and "we hope the problem would be solved as soon as possible and the remaining diplomats in the US captivity too would be released."

The top Iranian diplomat said consultations are underway with the Iraqi officials in that connection and "the Americans are responsible for abduction of the diplomats."

Asked to comment on the US sponsored Annapolis conference, Mottaki said, "As it was evident nothing special happened in the meeting and it produced no result."

He said the participants in the meeting only agreed on continuation of the talks, which is not something new.

The talks have been going on for years with no outcome, he concluded.

US was defeated in facing Iran over nuclear issue

Mottaki said here Thursday that the US failed in dealing with Iran over its nuclear issue.

"Today, the US lies about Iran's peaceful nuclear activities have been unveiled," Mottaki told a group of Basijis (volunteer forces) at Foreign Ministry's Institute for Political and International Studies.

Mottaki said the US is now angry with Iran and President George W. Bush might want to take some desperate actions against the country but what has prevented him from taking action is their prediction of the grave consequences if they deal the first blow on Tehran.

While underlining the need for Iranians' full preparedness, Mottaki said the possibility of military action against Iran is very very weak. "Their wise individuals too cannot predict what would be the consequences of such a measure."

The top diplomat said Bush has laid the blame for the US' humiliating defeat over recent years on Iran. "In the nuclear field too they have told the world big and strange lies, which are gradually being exposed to the public."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mottaki said in the new approach of the 9th government, the possibility of resumption of ties with the US has been ruled out.

"Today there is no call on Iran's part for resumption of ties ith the US and relations with the US is not on agenda of Iran's foreign policy. Those who were after this and wanted to do some work in that connection failed."

As for ties with France, Mottaki said there are extensive grounds for relations with Paris. "France was an independent weight in Europe in the past. Former president Jacque Chirac was the first to oppose the US military build-up in Iraq and the country has high potentials. Though being interested in ties with France, we keep a close eye on the stances taken by Paris. We are now closely managing relations with France."

He then touched on the US efforts to push a resolution against Iran through the UN Security Council and said, "Whole efforts of the iplomatic apparatus are focused on preventing issuance of another resolution."

He said considering the logical and judicial conditions prevailing and regarding Iran's positive measures in dealing with the IAEA, those supporting another resolution are now in a weak position. "West wants to stir internal conditions in Iran," warned Mottaki.

West's Iran confrontation policy to cost it dearly

Mottaki said here Thursday that the West's policy of confrontation with Iran would cost them dearly. "Perhaps we too would sustain losses but the damage the West would suffer would be definitely bigger," he said.

Mottaki added the West has only two alternatives in dealing with Iran: either get engaged or confront Iran.

He said the Iranian people will not back down from their stances and they are firm on their resolve.

"Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is in a claimant position.

We have today promoted to the rank of claimant from the rank of defendant and would continue the strategy of software aggression." He said the allegations and claims that the West used to raise against Iran provided the country with a chance to present its words and "today, we are in a condition that voice our concern over human rights situation in Europe."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mottaki said the US has launched a new round of efforts to sever Iran-Arab relations.

"Arab states have over the past one and a half years been engaged in a new round of US efforts to get mobilized against Iran. The first meeting in that connection was held in Egypt with the US presence and the next meeting -- the so-called second Cairo session -- was held in Kuwait."

He said Iran has taken a serious approach towards its neighbors and aims to foil the US efforts which have been going on over the past two years.

He added that the NAM ministerial meeting will be held in Tehran next year to prepare for the NAM summit to be held in Iran after Egypt.

The Iranian official said Americans are trapped in a quagmire so deeply that they have resorted to Iran's help.

He then recalled claims by the US President George W. Bush on restoring security to Afghanistan after invasion. "But today insecurity has increased in Afghanistan and in general, wide-scale movements and campaign against terrorism have made the world more insecure."

Mottaki said the Annapolis conference was held to improve Israel's failed image. "They have been claiming since 17 years ago that the problem with Palestine would be resolved through such talks but we saw what happened."

... Payvand News - 11/30/07 ... --

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