On the Iran - US talks over Iraq, Talabani's support
Iraq-Iran-USA, Politics, 3/20/2006
Iraq's President Jalal Talabani, who's term of office is in continuity pending his re-election or selection of a new president by the new parliament, welcomed a call by Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) Abd al-Aziz Hakim for Iran and the United States to hold talks on Iraq.
The Iraqi president said the issue of talks was raised during a visit he made to Tehran a few months ago, a statement from his office said, summarizing talks he held on Saturday with British Defense Secretary John Reid.
"We received primary approval from Iran when I visited a few months ago," the statement quoted Talabani as saying.
"We confirmed at that time the necessity of opening such a dialogue and the Iranian side accepted on two conditions. The first was the talks would be secret and the second was that all disputes between Iran and the United States would be discussed."
While Talabani indicated the talks should be in secret, Iranian officials indicated any such talks should be fully transparent.
An Iranian lawmaker yesterday warned of the possibility US-Iran talks on the subject of Iraq could be used by the US as a means of resolving its own problems.
"If Americans in the talks with Iran over Iraq wish to use the Islamic Republic of Iran as a tool to solve their own problems, the plan will be futile," said a member of Majlis' Foreign Policy and National Security Commission, Javad Jahangirzadeh, in an interview with IRNA here on Sunday.
Jahangirzadeh, however, believes that if the talks pave the way for recognition of national sovereignty and an end to the foreign occupation then they would be positive.
"But it does not seem Americans would leave Iraq so easily," he added.
He said that a stable and secure Iraq can boost security in Iran.
Giving a chronology of Tehran-Washington ties in post-Islamic Revolution Iran, Jahangirzadeh said these ties can be characterized by mountains of troubles and tensions due mostly to wrong American policies and discriminatory approaches.
However, he added, if the proposed talks between Iran and the US would help settle problems in this part of the world, Tehran would not hesitate to give diplomacy a chance and would use its capabilities and potentials in this regard.
Iran's acceptance of the proposal of Iraqi religious figure Ayatollah Abd al-Aziz Hakim to hold talk with the US on Iraq will boost hopes of restoring stability and security in Iraq and the region, said an Iranian lawmaker here on Sunday.
"Having realized the peculiar limitations it faces in Iraq, Iran and the region, the US is now willing to engage Iran," a member of Majlis' National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Reza Talaienik, told IRNA in an interview yesterday.
Talaienik said the US, after waging war on Afghanistan and Iraq, has slowly realized Iran's powerful role in regional developments and, notwithstanding its enmity with Tehran, acknowledges the fact that peace cannot be had in the region without Iran's participation in regional developments and equations.
He believed negotiations between Iran and the US would be most useful considering the strong political, religious, cultural and economic bonds between the Iranian and Iraqi nations and their shared vision of a prosperous and peaceful Iraq.
He also acknowledged that stability and security in Iraq would have an impact on the national security of Iran.
"Toward this end, Iran and Iraq are very desirous and determined to enhance their cooperation and relations in their joint interest and in the interest of promoting regional stability and security," said the parliamentarian.
Talaienik said dialogue would also contribute to finding a solution to the Iran nuclear issue.
He said that although Iraq would be the focus of talks between Iran and the US, negotiations could also have a constructive impact on other regional issues, including the nuclear standoff.
Iran has always preferred diplomatic means of solving its nuclear case as long as its national interests are safeguarded, according to the lawmaker.
Talaienik noted that leaders and the intelligentsia in Europe and the US have also expressed their preference for diplomacy in resolving Iran's nuclear dossier and that public opinion and resentment to US adventurism should make the West mull its policies in the region in order not to repeat past mistakes.
He said that the inefficacy of threats and sanctions imposed on Iran in the past has made the US opt for other means to impose its will such as psychological and political pressures and even diplomatic means to resolve Iran's nuclear dossier.
The MP, however, warned that even if the US changes its strategy and even opts for diplomatic means to resolve the crisis, the problem would not be resolved if it does not change its attitude and continues to entertain its long-term goal of domination over the region.
"Anticipating the possibility of US-Iran talks on Iraq being manipulated by the US and Zionist media to promote their ongoing psychological campaign against Iran," Talaienik urged Tehran to carefully study the subject and content of the proposed talks.
"Iran's confidence that talks with the US would have a positive outcome should not make it overlook the fact that the talks could also be used by the Americans and Zionists to fan the psychological war and demoralize Iranians," according to the Talaienik.
He said that "the unity and enthusiasm of the Iranian people and Tehran's wise diplomacy are the country's main defense in the ongoing nuclear standoff."
The timing and agenda of talks between Iran and the US and the role of Ayatollah Hakim should be clearly arranged before the talks, he added.
He said the talks should be fully transparent as called for by Iraq so as to forestall any likelihood of their being abused by Zionist and American networks to promote their interests against Tehran, advised Talaienik.
The parliamentarian noted that with respect to Iran's nuclear case, not only the US but other western states had stakes in the resolution of the standoff, and urged Tehran to carefully study the complicated and crucial aspects of the case and consider effective as well as diplomatic strategies to break the standoff.
Turning to Iraq, he said the recent elections prepared the ground for cooperation with Iran, and added that the strong alliance of the Iranian and Iraqi nations as shown in the elections made the US change its strategy to get rid of the stalemate by agreeing to engage Iran.
The official was optimistic Iran's acceptance of talks with the US on Iraq would help create a strong coalition that would be a crucial factor in restoring stability and security to the country.
The MP, who represents the cities of Bahar and Kabudar Ahang in Majlis, said that the US' wars on Afghanistan and Iraq showed the power of Iranian diplomacy and how it effectively contributed to the downfall of Saddam Hossein and the Taliban.
Despite its enmity and bias against Iran, Washington cannot ignore Iran's powerful role in the campaign against terrorism and in efforts to restore stability and security to the region, opined the Iranian lawmaker.
Talks between Iran and the US could effectively lead to the establishment of a stable and popular goverment in Iraq and this could be the main encouragement for holding such talks, Talaienik said, adding that the groundwork had been laid for the people's participation in this kind of government.
He said the proposed Iran-US talks would result in a new power equilibrium in Iraq that would mean the participation of more groups in forming a new government for the country.
Crucial decisions that will determine the future of Iraq, and in particular the formation of a stable government in the country, lie in the Iraqi nation, and with foreign forces still maintaining their presence in the country, cooperation among all domestic groups and regional states is imperative in order to resoter peace and stability, he said.
Talaienik said Ayatollah Hakim and the United Iraqi Coalition both welcome the participation of all ethnic groups and factions in Iraq in the formation of a new stable government.
The US, so as to avoid further mistakes and suspicion as to its ambitions in the region and the entire world for that matter, considers the establishment of a stable and popular government in Iraq, whether this be pro-US or not, as being in line with its interests, concluded Talaienik.
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