[Marxism] Iran FM: "Iran...is ready to help the administration withdraw from Iraq"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Dec 10 01:40:28 MST 2006


www.nytimes.com

December 10, 2006
Iran Ties Role in Iraq Talks to U.S. Exit 
By HASSAN M. FATTAH and MICHAEL R. GORDON

MANAMA, Bahrain, Dec. 9 - Just days after the Iraq Study Group recommended
opening a dialogue with Tehran, Iran's foreign minister said his country
would enter discussions on stabilizing Iraq only if the United States
commits to a troop withdrawal. 

Speaking to a security conference in Manama, Foreign Minister Manouchehr
Mottaki said Iran was open to dialogue as long as the United States "changes
its attitude," and he asserted that the Americans were "50 percent to blame"
for Iraq's violence. 

In a defiant presentation, he also insisted that the United States stop
campaigning against Iran's nuclear program.
"The Islamic republic of Iran, in case the U.S. changes its attitude, is
ready to help the administration to withdraw its troops from Iraq," Mr.
Mottaki said. He then took a triumphant tone, saying, "The time of threats
is over; the period of unilateralism is over." 

The event, which drew diplomatic and security officials from throughout the
Persian Gulf and the West was organized by the International Institute for
Strategic Studies. 

Iran's activities in Iraq have been of concern to Washington because
American intelligence says Iran is providing explosives and triggering
devices and possibly other military support to militant fighters in Iraq. 

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommended in a report released Wednesday
that the United States establish an Iraq International Support Group, which
would involve Iraq's neighbors, including Iran, other Middle East states,
the United States and other permanent members of the United Nations Security
Council, among others.

When asked whether Iran would join such a diplomatic effort, Mr. Mottaki
signaled that his nation would only do so as part of an arrangement in which
the United States began to withdraw its forces.

"The United States should help itself before anyone else," he told reporters
after his presentation. "The first step is they have to say that they will
be ready to leave Iraq."
American officials at the meeting doubted that Iran could improve the
situation in Iraq, dismissing Mr. Mottaki's speech as posturing to put
Iran's Arab neighbors at ease about the chances of a confrontation between
Iran and the United States. 
They emphasized that they had made no contact with the Iranians during the
meeting. 

"They don't want to appear to be begging for a dialogue when we don't seem
too eager in doing so ourselves," said one United States official, speaking
on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment. "But
they do seem pretty confident that things are going their way."

Senior American officials were invited to the meeting, and Stephen J.
Hadley, President Bush's national security adviser, had been expected to
attend. But he and other top-level officials did not participate.

The administration is conducting a policy review on the issue, and analysts
said it would have been awkward for the officials to defend a policy that
had not been decided. 

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company 







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