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U.S.-Iran talks "difficult discussions"
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09:04, July 25, 2007

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The United States and Iran had "difficult discussions" during their second round of ambassador- level talks over the security situation in Iraq, U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said Tuesday.

The Tuesday talks between Crocker and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Kazemi Qomi were hosted by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki in his offices inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

It was also attended by a delegation of Iraqi officials headed by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

"There were several heated exchanges in the course of the day," Crocker, chief of the U.S. delegation, told Washington-based reporters by telephone.

Crocker said there were arguments when he accused in the talks Iran of providing direct support to extremist militias -- both training and actual weapons -- and that Washington had "the proof. "

"Frankly, I certainly walked into the room today expecting that discussions would be difficult. We've got a lot of problems with the Iranians."

Crocker summarized his talks with Qomi as "difficult discussions," noting the difficulty stemmed from "the lack of clear action on the ground to back Iran's stated policy" that it wanted to see security normalized in Iraq.

But the U.S. envoy said the meeting could not be described as a "shouting match throughout."

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.

Source: Xinhua



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