‘IRANIANS AGREE TO FORM SECURITY COMMITTEE WITH USA’ –and call for gradual withdrawal of US troops

Demonstrators in London on February 24th against the war on Iraq demanding no attack on Iran
Demonstrators in London on February 24th against the war on Iraq demanding no attack on Iran

WITHIN its 1700 gmt newscast on 24 July, at the end of the day’s talks between the US and Iranian governments in Baghdad, Al-Iraqiyah Television reported the following developments which emphasised the crisis of the US puppet Maliki regime.

It quoted an ‘authorised source’ at the Office of the Prime Minister as saying the following on behalf of the Prime Minister.

‘We express our strong bafflement at contradictory statements attributed to Iyad al-Samarra’i, leader of Al-Tawafuq Front in the parliament, in which he claimed that the prime minister deliberately sought to foil the political process in order to expedite the withdrawal of the US forces from Iraq.

‘While we underscore our relentless effort to finalise preparing the Iraqi forces as soon as possible to become able to completely shoulder the security responsibility without the need to seek the help of non-Iraqi forces, we believe that the shortest way to realise this goal is by bolstering the political process and developing it and not the other way around as some believe.

‘The government works in line with its national duties and not in favour of having one party or another produce a positive or negative report on the situation in Iraq.

‘We reiterate our call on political blocs to support the political process. It is only natural that support is attained through the responsible participation and positive interaction rather than boycotting and remaining passive.’

At 1706 gmt, the station carries a report on the US-Iranian-Iraqi talks in Baghdad.

The report noted that ‘the meeting started with a speech by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in which he expressed his welcome and appreciation to both countries for responding to the government’s call to hold this meeting.

‘The talks went on for several hours and resulted in recommendations that serve Iraq’s future.

‘The most important of these recommendations was the formation of a tripartite committee to address the security situation in the country.’

The report quoted Foreign Minister Hoshayr Zebari in a news conference as saying: ‘The most important point is agreeing on forming a tripartite security US-Iranian-Iraqi committee.

‘This committee will be concerned with the issues of the out of control militias in favour of controlling these militias, not to mention cooperating amongst them to prevent the militias from defying the rule of the law.’

The report added that ‘supporting the political process and all of the Iraqi government’s democratic bodies, and supporting the security forces by building Iraqi forces that would be able to prevent foreign interferences in Iraq’s affairs were the most important points of agreement.’

The report also cited the Iranian ambassador to Iraq as saying: ‘We discussed the root causes of security problems in Iraq, and succeeded in reaching solutions during today’s talks.

‘We are hopeful that the Iraqi People will witness the positive results which this meeting will produce.’

The report by the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) website quoted Iran’s ambassador to Iraq Hasan Kazemi-Qomi as saying: ‘Iran tries to help Iraq with security questions, but that Iraq today is a victim of terror and presence of the occupation force.’

According to ISNA, he also said that at the talks on Tuesday Iran seriously called for the release of its diplomats held by American forces.

He said: ‘We also sought the release of Iranian nationals held in Iraqi prisons.’

Kazemi-Qomi further said: ‘The talks also focused on creation of a mechanism to implement the agreements reached during the first round of the talks.

‘The Americans admitted to some of their mistakes in Iraq, something which is a positive step forward.

‘The onus is now on the Americans to make up for the mistakes they have made.’

According to the Iranian Students News Agency, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi further said: ‘At the meeting the other side was reminded of some of the mistakes made by foreign forces based in Iraq and the problems arising from the occupation of Iraq, something which was accepted by the American side.’

The report added: ‘Our country’s ambassador to Baghdad further said: “If the Americans did not seek to compensate these mistakes, they would be bound for more trouble in Iraq; and this would naturally put pressure on the Iraqi government and nation.”

‘Recalling the transparent policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in supporting the Iraqi representative government, he said Iran would take any measure which might help restore security to Iraq, rebuild the country and restore full responsibility to the Iraqi government.

‘He said: “The oppressed people of Iraq are still grappling with the aftermath of the policies adopted by the former regime, and problems caused by terrorists and continued presence of occupiers. And the Islamic Republic of Iran views it as its responsibility to help the Iraqi people and government in times of trouble.”

‘He said that today’s talks were frank and the meeting discussed the root cause of some of Iraq’s problems and ways of working out a mechanism within a security framework and on the basis of the agreements reached at the first meeting.’

According to the Central News Bureau, Kazemi-Qomi recalled the optimism of Iraqi officials about the result of these meetings and expressed hope the talks would have tangible results for the people of this country.

He said the Iraqi government has played a pivotal role in organising the meeting, and added: ‘What is important is that efforts are needed to shore up the security apparatus of the Iraqi government so that it could overcome terrorists.’

The Iranian ambassador further said neighbouring and regional countries could have an active role in this regard.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction over the talks and in a brief statement said he hoped a next round of talks would be held at a higher level.

And an Iraqi official told ISNA that during the talks between Iranian and American ambassadors, which lasted seven hours, the two sides agreed that experts from the two countries attend a meeting in Iraq that was scheduled to take place yesterday.

At 1719 gmt on 24 July, the Iranian TV Channel Two aired a live discussion programme on the second round of talks between Iran and America over Iraq earlier in the day.

Ali Aqamohammadi and Doctor Aminian were the guests of the programme at the beginning of which a report by the broadcaster’s Iraq correspondent on the talks was aired.

In response to a question as to whether there has been any progress since the first round of talks, Dr Aqamohammadi, identified as a political expert, said the Americans are divided.

Those who support Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates are under pressure and their contradictory comments come as a result of pressure poured by Dick Cheney and the Zionists.

America’s need to use Iran’s help to work out a solution to the crisis in Iraq is real, he said adding the Bush administration does have the will to use that help.

Then Dr Aminian, identified as a university professor, said that the Americans know they need Iran’s help and that allegations by some American officials against Iran are just superficial and meant to weaken Iran’s hand at the negotiating table.

Aqamohammadi then said as the Iraqi government takes control of security, Iran will be able to contribute more and more to efforts to restore security to its neighbour to the west.

He said gradual withdrawal of American forces is essential to the success of the three-way committee formed to look into security questions in Iraq.

Aqamohammadi further said the US president is complying with the suggestions of the Iraq Study Group. He said despite political bickering on Capitol Hill, Democrats are not calling for full withdrawal of American forces from the region because oil is what America cares about.

He said the comments of President Bush earlier today about Al-Qaeda amounted to admission of defeat.

Aqamohammadi added the fact that Iran is helping America exit the quagmire of Iraq is meant to rid the region of the scourge of insecurity the US has brought to the region.

In conclusion Aqamohammadi said Iran needs to wait and see how the Republican-Democratic fight in the US plays out. He said if the Cheney camp was weakened, the prospects for the talks would be bright. But if the camp of the US vice-president was not weakened, the process of negotiations between the two countries would be slowed down.