Iran studying talks with US over Iraq
( AP ) - Iran is studying a proposal from Iraqi officials to hold security talks with the United States in January, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
"Recently, we have received a proposal by Iraqi officials for an upcoming round of the talks to be held in January," ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters. The "time and level of the talks is under study."
Since May, Iran and the U.S. have held three rounds of ambassador-level of negotiations over security in Iraq. Earlier in November, Iran agreed to a request from the U.S. and Iraq to continue the talks.
Previous sessions ended inconclusively, with Iran rejecting U.S. allegations that it supports Shiite insurgent groups in Iraq by providing bomb-making materials responsible for the deaths of American troops.
The new invitation came amid a decline in attacks involving such devices.
The first round of U.S.-Iran talks in Baghdad last May broke a 27-year diplomatic freeze. Both sides agreed during their July talks to set up a security subcommittee to carry forward talks on restoring stability in Iraq.
The subcommittee met in August for the first time in Baghdad and agreed to meet again at a later date, but no more information was available on the outcome of those talks.
Iran holds considerable sway in Iraq, where the majority of the population is also Shiite Muslim and where Shiite political parties have close ties to Tehran.