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Iraqi Foreign Minister Stresses Importance of US-Iran Security Talks


Iraq's foreign minister has urged Iran and the United States to resume talks on seeking a solution to Iraq's security problems.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told a news conference in Baghdad Wednesday that a fourth round of Iraq security talks between Iran and the United States has stalled, due to escalating tensions between the two countries.

Zebari said both Iran and the United States should stop trading accusations over who is to blame for violence in Iraq, and stressed the importance of resuming dialogue.

Iran said Monday it would not hold a fourth round of talks as long as U.S. forces continue targeting Shi'ite militias in Baghdad.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have fought fierce battles against Shi'ite militiamen loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Sadr City for the past month.

The United States has said it is ready for security talks with Iran, but says they are meaningless as long as Tehran does not change its behavior. The U.S. has repeatedly accused Iran of supporting militias in Iraq, which Tehran denies.

In other news, the U.S. military today said a U.S. soldier was killed in an attack on his convoy in Anbar province, in the city of Falluja.

The U.S. military also said the Iraqi army captured three suspected al-Qaida in Iraq leaders involved in roadside bomb attacks. It said the suspects were detained in separate operations north of Baghdad in Kirkuk province, and in the towns of Tarmiyah and Judaidah. It said six other suspects were detained in Kirkuk.

Also today, the U.S. military said Iraqi special operations forces detained seven suspected criminals in and around Baghdad's Sadr City district.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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