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Iran Demands Withdraw From Iraq Before Talks

From those lovers of negotiations at Reuters:

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki addresses delegates at a regional security conference in Manama, Bahrain, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006. Iran is so keen on seeing U.S. troops depart Iraq that its foreign minister said Saturday that Tehran was willing to help Washington leave. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said U.S. troops were responsible for at least half the violence tearing apart Iraq and that their departure would pay security dividends for the entire region.

Iran sets conditions for talks with U.S. on Iraq

Sat Dec 9, 2006 10:45 AM ET

by Mohammed Abbas

MANAMA (Reuters) – Iran will only hold direct talks with the United States on Iraq if Washington announces plans to pull its troops out, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Saturday.

Mottaki was responding to this week’s U.S. Iraq Study Group report, which recommended Washington should directly engage with Iran and Syria to try to stabilize Iraq.

President Bush has said he will not talk to Iran unless it suspends its nuclear program.

On the question of direct talks, "the first and most essential step … is the United States announce they have decided to withdraw from Iraq", Mottaki told reporters at a security conference in Bahrain.

"Iran is ready to help the administration to withdraw its troops from Iraq," he said, but his country did not "see such political will yet in the United States".

Washington has said it will keeps its troops in Iraq as long as the Iraqi government wants.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said last month his country’s forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007 — which would allow the United States to start withdrawing troops.

U.S. and Iraqi officials at the conference were skeptical about any Iranian help for U.S. troop withdrawal.

"I don’t know how Iran can help the United States withdraw from Iraq peacefully. They should define that … What about the Iraqis? Nobody asked them," said Saadoun Dulaimi, adviser to Maliki.

Washington blames Iran and Syria for stirring up conflict in Iraq nearly four years after the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.

"The biggest help Iran can make is to stop what they’re doing in Iraq right now," a senior U.S. military official, who did not want to be named, told Reuters.

"The Iranians are good chess players … and they are going to find a way to prolong this effort and help discredit the United States … to gain more influence and possibly work on their nuclear program," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has suggested Tehran would demand some payback in return for any help on Iraq, probably over its nuclear program, which the West fears could include nuclear weapons. Iran says it has no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons.

Asked if Iran would ask for concessions if it helped the U.S. withdraw, Mottaki said: "When they announce they have decided to withdraw from Iraq, then we will explain how the region can help the Americans to withdraw."

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said Syria or Iran would demand payback for any help they offer the United States.

"No country will come and offer you good services free of charge. What’s the price?" he said.

Of course while they are at it, Iran will demand that we deny Israel’s right to exist as a nation and that the holocaust ever happened. Also we must allow Iran to have nuclear weapons.

All so Iran can help us "stabilize" Iraq. That sounds fair, doesn’t it?

Thanks again, Mr. Baker.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, December 9th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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