Iran Ends Its Talks With
U.S. on Iraq
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran
ended talks with the United States over how to restore order in Iraq after
concluding the negotiations were "going nowhere," Iran's foreign
minister said Wednesday in a rare acknowledgment of official talks between
Tehran and Washington.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said no progress
was made during the talks and that Washington's reliance on military force was
fueling violence in Iraq.
"Previously, we had
dialogue" about Iraq, Kharrazi
told reporters. "Currently it has stopped because we felt we were going
nowhere. The Americans give promises but don't keep their promises. Currently,
they are taking a wrong path."
He gave no details of the
talks, such as who was involved or where they took place.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard
Boucher declined to say whether the United States asked Iran to help calm the situation in Iraq.
said Iran and the United States were still in contact through the
Swiss Embassy. In the absence of formal diplomatic relations between the two
countries, Switzerland looks after American interests in Iran.
"There has been a lot
of correspondence with the U.S. about Iraq" through the Swiss Embassy, he
said. "Naturally, there are such requests from the U.S. that we help improve the situation
in Iraq, and we are making efforts in this
The official Islamic
Republic News Agency reported Wednesday that a top Foreign Ministry official, Hossein Sadeghi, was sent to Iraq to consult with members of the
U.S.-appointed Governing Council and Iraqi clerics.
Sadeghi's visit is believed to be in response
to Washington's request that Tehran help end the violence in Iraq.
But Boucher said Washington did not any invite Iranian
officials to Baghdad.
The Swiss Embassy refused
to comment on the contacts between Tehran and Washington.
Washington broke ties with Iran after Iranians seized the U.S.
Embassy in Tehran in November 1979. The militants
held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
In 2002, President Bush
listed Iran as part of an "axis of
evil" along with Iraq and North Korea.
Washington and Tehran are at odds over Iran's nuclear program. The Bush
administration suspects Iran is pursuing programs to develop
nuclear arms. Iran insists it only wants nuclear
reactors to meet energy demands.
Kharrazi said Iran was willing to help improve the
security situation in Iraq, but he gave no indication Tehran was trying to resume talks.
Iran "is making its utmost efforts to help resolve
the situation in Iraq as soon as possible so that the
power is given back to the Iraqi people," he said. "The solution is
for occupiers to leave Iraq."
Kharrazi advised the United States to consult with Iraqi clerics and Iraq's neighbors. Relying on force, he
said, "is a big mistake with severe consequences."
The U.S. military has been fighting on two
fronts in Iraq this month - against followers of a
vehemently anti-U.S. Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, and against Sunni insurgents in the city of Fallujah.
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,
said the United States is doomed to fail in Iraq.
"Americans will be
forced to leave Iraq with humiliation," he said on
state-run radio Wednesday. "Americans arrived in Iraq in the name of democracy but have
actually started killing people, making their record darker than ever
Khamenei also said Iraq's neighbors had no role in
fostering Iraqi resistance to the occupation.
Meanwhile, Italian Foreign
Minister Franco Frattini said that an Iranian
delegation was headed to Baghdad to help secure the release of four
Italian hostages held in Iraq.
Frattini didn't give details of the Iranian
mission, but presumably Italy, one of Iran's major trading partners, wants to
make the most any leverage Shiite Iran might have in Iraq.
The four were abducted
Monday, Frattini said, speaking in Rome. The unidentified abductors have
reportedly demanded Italy pull its 3,000 soldiers and
paramilitary police from Iraq, a move ruled out by Italian