Sunday, May 27, 2007

Iranian delegation heads to Baghdad for talks with U.S.

Above: The USS Nimitz sails through the Gulf of Oman this week as part of war games comprising 17,000 personnel intended as a 'warning' to Iran. Left: Mouwafak al-Rubaie, who will attend the meeting, heads the CIA-funded Iraqi National Intelligence Service. The CIA has placed more than 500 officers in Iraq, according to U.S. intelligence sources, making the Iraq station the CIA's largest in the world.

TEHRAN, Iran: An Iranian delegation left Tehran Sunday for Baghdad for talks with the U.S. on Iraq's security, the official news agency reported.

Iran said Monday's talks will include discussions on security, a timetable for U.S. forces to leave Iraq, Iran's participation in Iraq's reconstruction and the presence of the opposition group, MEK, in Iraq, the news agency, IRNA, reported.

The ambassador-level talks will include Iraqi security chief Mouwafak al-Rubaie, IRNA said. It did not provide further details.

The Baghdad talks, which both sides say will focus solely on Iraq, are the first of their kind and a small sign that Washington thinks rapprochement is possible after nearly three decades of animosity.

There is great distrust between the two nations, which are now in dispute over Iran's nuclear program. The U.S. also accuses Iran of arming and training Shiite militias in Iraq, which Iran denies. Iran says the presence of U.S. troops has stoked the insurgency.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune