New US request for talks on Iraq, says Tehran

Tehran - Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali HosseiniTehran on Monday said it has received a new official request by the United States to resume talks on Iraq.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini told reporters in Tehran that Iran was evaluating the request and would reply in due course. He gave no further details.

Hosseini had said Saturday that Iran would from now on ignore all US requests for talks on Iraq and only consider direct requests from Baghdad for such talks.

The spokesman added that in order to resume talks with the US, the US should "take substantial steps" and show a revised approach towards Iran in practice.

Hosseini once again accused the US of seeking "military adventurism in the (Gulf) region" and called on regional states to confront such policies.

Iran and the US have already held three rounds of talks in Baghdad without any tangible results except an as yet unimplemented plan to form a trilateral security committee consisting of Iran, the US and Iraq to help bring stability to Iraq.

The two political arch-foes were supposed to resume talks in mid- February but the meeting was cancelled, reportedly due to "technical reasons."

The US and Iran severed diplomatic ties after US embassy staff in Tehran were taken hostage for 444 days in 1979-81. The two sides have followed hostile policies towards each other since then.

The US accuses Iran of aiding insurgents in Iraq, and, while denying the US charges, Tehran says that the only way to return peace and stability to Iraq is for the US to withdraw its forces immediately. (dpa)

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