May 29, 2007


U.S., Iran Open Dialogue On Iraq: Diplomats Call Meeting Positive; More Talks Likely (John Ward Anderson, 5/29/07, Washington Post)

Monday's four-hour meeting between diplomats from the United States and Iran yielded no breakthroughs, but comments by Crocker and Qomi suggested that the two countries shared surprisingly similar assessments of the security problems facing Iraq, if not the causes. Both men characterized the meeting as positive.

"The two sides dealt with the issues in a very frank and transparent and clear way," Qomi told reporters in a news conference at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad. "The views of both sides were unified and identical on the question of the security issue."

Crocker said, "There was pretty good congruence right down the line -- support for a secure, stable, democratic, federal Iraq, in control of its own security, at peace with its neighbors." But then the two sides parted ways, he said.

"This is about actions, not just principles, and I laid out to the Iranians direct, specific concerns about their behavior in Iraq and their support for militias that are fighting Iraqi and coalition forces," he said. Crocker said he did not present a dossier of evidence, but he impressed upon his Iranian counterpart that the United States was "looking for results" and wanted "a change in Iranian behavior."

He said Qomi did not respond to the comments.

At his news conference, Qomi said allegations that Iran is supplying insurgents with weapons, munitions and training have been denied by Iran on numerous occasions and "don't prove anything."

In what may be one of the more significant ideas raised at the meeting, Qomi said that Iran had proposed the creation of a special security committee composed of Iranian, U.S. and Iraqi officials that could deal with all U.S. allegations about Iranian activities in Iraq. Such a committee could also offer a framework for future meetings, Qomi said.

Crocker said he would forward the proposal to Washington, adding, "My comment at the time was that [the proposed committee] sounded very much like the meeting we were sitting in.

"Their main focus was on the mechanisms, if you will, and principles, rather than the detailed security substance that we need to see improvement on," Crocker said.

Both sides said the talks were instigated by Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and were held in his office. Maliki welcomed the ambassadors, who shook hands, and then escorted them into a conference room. The prime minister did not attend the meeting; Iraq was represented at the session by national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie.

You'd think the press and pundits would be past the point where they're surprised to discover the commonality of interests between the US and the Shia Crescent.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 29, 2007 7:53 AM

No, the press and pundits are not bothering to report on more useless diplomatic posturing by the US and Iran which will accomplish nothing good for the US.

Posted by: AWW at May 29, 2007 9:54 AM

Forget the press - I would like the Shia to get past the point where they're chanting "Death to America" all the Doo-Dah Day.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 30, 2007 8:50 AM

That should happen right around the time the whacko right stops chanting we have to bomb the Shi'a.

Posted by: oj at May 30, 2007 11:50 AM

We don't need to bomb them - a bullet for Mookie would raise lots of eyebrows in Tehran, for example.

Posted by: ratbert at May 30, 2007 4:33 PM


Posted by: oj at May 30, 2007 7:22 PM