Manuchehr Mottaki at Friday prayers in Tehran on March 17 (epa)
March 18, 2006 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said today that Iran's coming talks with the United States on the subject of Iraq will be "very frank and clear."
Mottaki is quoted by Iran's ISNA news agency as saying the agenda for the talks is not yet fully set, but that they will only focus on the Iraq issue.
Mottaki reiterated that Iran's decision to hold talks with the United States is in line with his country's "unlimited" cooperation with the Iraqi people.
Government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham had said earlier that Iran had accepted the talks with the United States -- the first formal direct contacts in 27 years -- because tranquility in Iraq is very important for Iran.
Iraq And Iran
Iranian Shi'a protesting the Golden Mosque Bombing in Iraq on February 24
WHAT IS GOING ON? On March 8, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a roundtable discussion on relations between Iraq and Iran. Although most analysts agree that Iran has been actively involved in Iraq since the U.S.-led military operation to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, they continue to debate the nature, extent, and intent of that involvement. The RFE/RL briefing featured WAYNE WHITE, former deputy director of the U.S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia, and A. WILLIAM SAMII, RFE/RL's regional analyst for Iran and editor of the "RFE/RL Iran Report."