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Former Iranian President Says Direct Talks with US Have Been 'Ineffective'

Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani says rare direct talks with Washington about Iraq's security situation have not been effective.

Rafsanjani told worshippers at Tehran University Friday that U.S. diplomats have not sent positive signals by accusing Iran of undermining Iraq's stability.

He said the talks will only achieve positive results if Washington considers the interests of people in the Middle East.

U.S. and Iranian diplomats have met several times in Baghdad since May, but their talks have been marred by sharp disagreements about Iran's role in Iraq.

President Bush said Thursday that Iran is a destabilizing force in Iraq. He said he believes this view is shared by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Mr. Maliki, a Shi'ite, visited Shi'ite-majority Iran this week for talks with Iranian leaders. Iranian state media quoted him as saying Tehran has helped Iraq improve its security.

The U.S.-Iranian talks in Baghdad are the first direct contacts between the two countries since relations were cut off after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.