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AFP: ‘Hopes Fade’ For US-Iran Negotiations

From France’s AFP:

Hopes fade for Iran-US breakthrough

by Mona Salem Fri May 4

Hopes that an international conference on Iraq would prompt a thaw in US-Iranian ties faded Friday when Iran accused the United States of terrorism in the war-torn country.

Speculation had mounted since the start Thursday of the meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could hold historic talks with her Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki.

But at a meeting designed to enhance international cooperation on Iraq security, Mottaki described US troops as “terrorists” and lashed out at Washington over the continued detention of Iranian officials seized in January.

“To create a safe haven for those terrorists who try to turn Iraqi territory into a base for attacking Iraq’s neighbours should be condemned,” the Iranian foreign minister said.

“Mr Mottaki was referring to countries which, like the United States, carry out acts of terrorism in Iraq,” a spokesman for the Iranian delegation at the conference told AFP…

Hopes of the highest-level direct talks between Iran and the United States since the foes broke off ties in 1980 soured when Mottaki walked out of a dinner attended by Rice on Thursday.

Mottaki claimed he was offended by the revealing dress the venue’s Russian violinist was wearing, said US officials, who suggested his discomfort may have had more to do with a table layout that left him directly facing Rice.

“I am not sure which woman he was afraid of: the woman in the red dress or the secretary of state,” said state department spokesman Sean McCormack.

The two officials had exchanged polite conversation at a lunch earlier Thursday, fueling speculation of further talks…

“Hopes fade”?

Oh, yes, it is clear we were so very close to a “breakthrough” with Iran.

If only we could just sit down and reason with each other.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, May 4th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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