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U.S.-Iran talks to focus on Iraq security: spokesman
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08:20, July 24, 2007

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The United States will focus on Iraq's security issues in the coming talks with Iran, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Monday.

"This is a channel in which two sides can engage on issues related to Iraq, the primary focus is on Iraq security," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told a news briefing.

McCormack ruled out raising the fate of four Iranian Americans held in Iran during the second face-to-face talks between U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker and Tehran's envoy Hassan Kazemi Qomi in Baghdad scheduled for Tuesday.

The U.S. and Iran held a historic meeting May 28 that marked their first direct talks in 27 years. Since then, tensions have grown as both sides continue to hurl accusations at each other over their role in Iraq and in the region.

Washington is demanding the release of four Iranian American scholars and activists accused by Iran of endangering its national security.

Tehran wants Washington to release five Iranians detained in Iraq. The U.S military alleges the five are senior members of the al-Quds Force, but Iran says they are diplomats with valid credentials and permission from the Iraqi government.

Iran has repeatedly denied U.S. allegations that its operatives are arming insurgents and targeting U.S. troops. Critics have noted that the U.S. military has not provided indisputable proof of Iranian involvement.

Source: Xinhua

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