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United States, Iran Prepare For Talks In Baghdad

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker (file photo) (epa) May 27, 2007 -- The United States and Iran are due to start their first bilateral talks in more than two decades on May 28.

The Baghdad talks will focus on ways to quell the violence in Iraq and will not address other issues, such as Tehran's disputed nuclear program. But they are seen as potentially significant amid high tensions between the two sides.

The talks will be led by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi.

On May 26, Iran's foreign minister said the United States must change its policies in Iraq if the talks are to succeed.

Manuchehr Mottaki said the United States must admit its "wrong policies" for the talks to continue.

The two adversaries broke off diplomatic relations in 1980 after radical Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held staffers hostage for 444 days.

(compiled from agency reports)

Iraq And 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."


Listen to the complete RFE/RL briefing (about 75 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


Iran/Iraq: Bilateral Ties Improving Despite U.S. Worries

Renewed Speculation About Tehran And Instability In Iraq

Iran/Iraq: Neighbors Mending Ties, But Outstanding Issues Remain


RFE/RL's coverage of Iran. RFE/RL's coverage of Iraq.