Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran, U.S. to Hold Talks on Iraq

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran has agreed to hold a new round of talks soon with the United States on how to improve security in Iraq, Iran's foreign minister said Tuesday.

Ambassadors of the two old foes, deeply at odds over who is to blame for the violence in Iraq as well as over Tehran's disputed nuclear ambitions, have held three meetings in Baghdad since May on Iraq but the last one was three months ago.

Washington accuses Iran of arming, funding and training Shiite militias in Iraq. Tehran blames the sectarian violence, which has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, on the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.

U.S. officials have appeared to soften their rhetoric about Iran's involvement in Iraq and some analysts say Iran also may be trying to reduce tension by restraining Shiite militias there and restricting arms crossing the border.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki said Iran had received a U.S. request for more talks via the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents U.S. interests in the country after Washington severed ties following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"Iran is agreeing to this request in the framework of the policy of helping the Iraqi government and nation and [supporting] stability and security in this country," state radio quoted Mottaki as saying.

"These negotiations will be held in the near future," he said.

In Baghdad, a U.S. embassy spokeswoman said, "As we have indicated in the past, we are ready to participate in a new round of talks with Iran on security in Iraq." Iraq's government was taking the lead and would announce details on timing, she said.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said no date for the meeting had yet been set.

This year's Iranian-U.S. talks on Iraq's security situation eased a diplomatic freeze that lasted almost three decades, even though Tehran and Washington are embroiled in a deepening stand-off over Iran's nuclear ambitions.