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Home >> World
UPDATED: 20:44, May 15, 2007
Iranian lawmakers seek to build Iran-U.S. friendship group
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A group of Iranian lawmakers were collecting signatures in the Majlis (parliament) to form a Iranian- U.S. friendship committee, apparently in order to hold contacts with the U.S. Congress and reduce the currently tensions between the two countries, local media reported on Tuesday.

This was the first time that Iranian MPs tried to re-contact the U.S. Congress since they severed diplomatic relations in 1980. The two countries have just agreed to hold direct talks over Iraq issue in Baghdad in the near future.

Up to now, nine lawmakers have signed the petition, and more are expected to sign by the end of the day, said the reports.

"The petition is trying to create goodwill between Iran and the American nation, we did this in order to neutralize the hostile and warmongering policies of the White House with parliamentary ties and to show that Iran is a pacifist country," Jalal Hosseini, the legislator who drew up the petition, was quoted as saying by semi- official ILNA agency.

Some observers said the latest move in Majlis appeared to strive for ties with Democratic-controlled Congress since U.S. President George W. Bush administration received mounting pressures from it over Iraq issue and Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

However, there were also some MPs against the petition. Head of parliament's foreign affairs committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi said the action was ignorant of the "hostile U.S. acts against Iran."

"Since the U.S. doesn't take a new step, discussions between the two countries are just limited to Iraq issue, there's no place for bilateral issues," he said.

Another hard-line MPs, Saeed Aboutaleb, on Tuesday dismissed the action to create the friendship committee, saying "the nation will slam the faces of these lawmakers."

The petition will finally be presented to the Majlis Speaker Haddad Adel, who has the right to accept it or deny it. It's still not clear what kind of decision he would make, but it seems he would first talk to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in all matters in the Islamic Republic.

Iran and the U.S. on Sunday have decided to talk directly on the Iraq issue to stabilize the violent situation there. It seems that Khamenei had felt there was need to contact the United States since the tensions between the two foes had escalated in recent years due to the nuclear issue and Iraq issue.

Source: Xinhua

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