Iran willing to hold more talks with US over Iraq

By Xinhua

Tehran : Iran has expressed willingness to hold a second round of talks with the US over Iraq issue if Washington asks for it.

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"We are very positive toward holding such kind of new talks in the near future," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters Tuesday.

"Iraqi authorities requested this (Iran-US) talk, but we told them the Americans should deliver their demand through the official channel, which is the Swiss Embassy in Iran," he added.

The Swiss Embassy in Tehran has been looking after US interests in Iran since the two countries severed diplomatic relations in 1980.

Iranian leaders recently reiterated Tehran was ready to talk with the US over Iraq.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said July 9 that Iran would like to provide any kind of help to help Iraq stabilize its security, including having more dialogues with America.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday the White House is prepared to have new direct talks with Iran on Iraq's security and violence.

"We think that given the situation in Iraq and given Iran's continued behaviour that is leading to further instability in Iraq, it would be appropriate to have another face-to-face meeting to directly convey to the Iranian authorities if they wish to see a more stable, secure, peaceful Iraq … they need to change their behaviour," McCormack said.

"They (Iranians) need to stop supporting sectarian militias that are exacerbating sectarian tensions, they need to stop supporting EFP (Explosively-Formed Projectile) networks that pose a threat to our troops," he added.

The proposed US-Iran talks will be held, but the date for the meeting has not been fixed yet, the spokesman said.

Iranian and US diplomats May 28 met for four hours in Baghdad to discuss security in Iraq.