THE first bilateral talks between the US and Iran since 1980 took place yesterday and were described by the leader of the US delegation as ‘positive’ and ‘businesslike’.
Before the meeting, the Iranian President, Ahmadinezhad, publicly rejoiced that the United States now needed Iran’s help to get out of the Iraqi quagmire.
The Iranian bourgeoisie and its clerical establishment, which allowed the US and UK armies to enter both Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place, now wishes to test out just what it can gain from the successes of the Iraqi insurgency.
It wants to be recognised by the US as the dominant power in the Gulf and to have its interests recognised, with having access to nuclear power at the top of its shopping list, to be satisfied, if not by Bush, then by the Democrats. It wants to take over the role that was once enjoyed by Saddam Hussein.
The US is interested in Iran assisting it to tame and disarm the Mahdi Army, and helping it to create the conditions where there can be an orderly US withdrawal of its main forces from Iraq, leaving behind a number of bases.
Security in Iraq was the only item on the agenda at the talks in Baghdad, which were opened by the Iraqi puppet prime minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Both sides put the position that they were there to support the Maliki government, while Maliki made it clear that there could be no US withdrawal from Iraq until the puppet Iraqi security forces had been properly trained.
The US Ambassador to Iraq, Crocker and Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi Qomi led the delegations.
Both sides made their usual allegations. Crocker contended that Iran was arming the insurgents who were attacking US forces, while Qomi said that the US was not providing proper security in Iraq.
Crocker conceded after the meeting that there was broad agreement between the US and Iran on a policy towards Iraq but that ‘Iranian action on the ground’ was needed next.
He said the arming of the militia groups needed to cease and the US would ‘be looking for results’.
Crocker said the Iranians did not respond directly to the US allegations. ‘The Iranians did not go into any great detail,’ he said. ‘They made the assertion that the coalition presence was an occupation and that the effort to train and equip the Iraqi security forces had been inadequate to the challenges faced.’
However, Crocker did say that the Iranian delegation made a concrete proposition, that would be discussed by the US leadership.
The Iranians proposed ‘a trilateral mechanism’ to coordinate on security matters in Iraq, meaning that Iran was prepared to assist the US and its puppet government in combating the insurgency.
Crocker characterised the talks as ‘businesslike’, and said ‘We both laid out our support for the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as he undertakes a number of very difficult challenges.’
The Iranian ambassador looked forward to another meeting.
The US-Iranian meeting took place at a time when the US occupation is weakening on a daily basis.
In the past week there has been a public declaration for Sunni-Shia unity to put an end to the occupation, made by Moqtada al-Sadr, the political leader of the Mahdi army.
Al-Sadr is now at odds with the Maliki government which is determined to maintain the occupation, and his supporters have clashed with US and UK troops in Baghdad and Basra. The Iraqi masses are determined to end the occupation.
In this situation, a US-Iranian deal is far from being made. To make it worth the big risks that Iran will take in ‘coordinating security’ in Iraq, the US will have to offer major concessions, that Bush or the Democrats will find very difficult to make.
The Iranian bourgeoisie should resist the temptation to sell themselves to the US and keep out of Iraq. They must demand the immediate ending of the occupation.