TEHRAN, (Reuters) – Iran, the United States and Iraq will discuss details on Monday of a security committee they agreed to set up last month to help restore security in Iraq, an Iranian official said on Saturday.
Arch foes Tehran and Washington, which cut diplomatic ties shortly after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, held two rounds of rare talks in Baghdad in May and July to find ways to ease Iraq’s security crisis.
In the second round of talks, held on July 24 in Baghdad, representatives from the United States, Iran and Iraq agreed to establish a joint committee to investigate issues such as support for militias and al Qaeda in Iraq.
Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, said officials would hold further discussions about the joint body on Monday. He was speaking to the IRNA news agency, which portrayed the planned meeting as a third round of talks. “Based on the previous agreements, on Monday the two sides will exchange views about the details of the trilateral security committee,” Kazemi-Qomi told IRNA.
The three countries’ representatives would “hold expertise debates about the form and the agenda” of the committee, he said. “The Iraqi officials have been very hopeful about the outcome of the previous round of talks and have asked us to also have an active presence in the third round of talks,” he said.
Kazemi-Qomi, who on Friday told another Iranian news agency expert-level talks defining the work of the security committee would be held early next week, did not say who would attend Monday’s meeting.
Washington accuses Shi’ite Muslim Iran of stirring up violence in Iraq. Iran denies the charge and blames the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 for the bloodshed between Iraq’s majority Shi’ite and minority Sunni Arabs.
The two rounds of Baghdad talks, which only dealt with the situation in Iraq, were the highest profile face-to-face dialogue between Iran and the United States since 1979.
Tehran and Washington are also at loggerheads over Iran’s disputed nuclear work.