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U.S., Iran to discuss chaos in Iraq

  • Story Highlights
  • U.S., Iran to meet in Baghdad to discuss worsening conditions in Iraq
  • Ambassadors to Iraq from both countries to lead talks
  • Talks follow a landmark meeting in May
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. and Iranian ambassadors to Iraq will meet Tuesday to discuss security issues in the war-torn country, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

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U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, left, and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, will meet this week.

This will be the second meeting between U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi.

Their May 28 meeting marked the first public and formal talks between U.S. and Iranian representatives since the United States cut off diplomatic relations 27 years ago.

U.S. officials have accused Iran of interfering in the U.S.-led war in Iraq by supplying Shiite Muslim militias with weaponry and training, fueling the sectarian warfare U.S. and Iraqi troops are trying to curtail.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose ruling party has close ties to Tehran, said Tuesday's planned meeting would "strengthen the bridges of trust" between the two countries.

But a senior Bush administration official said, "We've seen no sign of improvement in Iranian behavior. They still arm, aid and train militants."

Crocker met Sunday in Baghdad with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in preparation for the meeting, Zebari's office said.

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"Ambassador Crocker expressed his satisfaction with the efforts made by the minister to hold this meeting," according to a statement from the foreign minister's office.

The Bush administration has come under increasing pressure to show signs of progress in Iraq ahead of a mid-September report by Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq. The war has become widely unpopular in the United States, and President Bush's fellow Republicans in Congress have had to rely on filibuster tactics to block Democratic-led efforts to start pulling U.S. combat troops out of Iraq.

The senior administration official said both Iran and the Sunni Muslim fighters of al Qaeda in Iraq are considered "accelerants" of the ongoing fighting, which has claimed more than 3,600 American lives since the 2003 invasion that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The United States broke off diplomatic ties with Iran in April 1980 in the midst of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy. Iranian students occupied the embassy from November 1979 until January 1981, when they released the remaining 52 hostages. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Ed Henry and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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