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Iran's FM Responds Positively to Prospect of Another Round of US-Iran Talks on Iraq


Iran's foreign minister has responded positively to the prospect of Iran and the United States holding another round of talks on the situation in Iraq.

Manouchehr Mottaki says Iran will consider such a meeting, but also stressed that he expects Iraq to secure the release of five Iranian diplomats who were detained by U.S. forces in Irbil in January for alleged illegal activities.

Mottaki made the comments in Baghdad Wednesday after talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Zebari stressed the importance of continued dialogue between the United States and Iran on the situation in Iraq.

In Washington, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Iran knows what it can do immediately - stop sending foreign fighters into Iraq and attacking U.S. troops and innocent Iraqis.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted in Iranian media Wednesday as strongly rejecting the U.S. claims of Iranian involvement in the violence in Iraq and in military nuclear activities.

U.S. and Iranian officials have held three rounds of talks this year on the situation in Iraq. An ambassadorial-level meeting in May was the countries' first high-level talks in nearly three decades. The United States severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 1979.

The United States also accuses Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon. Last week, the United States designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction, and its elite Quds force as a supporter of terrorism in the Middle East.

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

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