U.S.-Iran Talks Unlikely at Conference on Iraq

[Washington Post] Robin Wright - Secretary of State Rice and her Iranian counterpart are unlikely to hold substantive one-on-one talks at a conference in Egypt on Friday, U.S. and Iranian officials said Tuesday. Rice and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki are both scheduled to attend a meeting with Iraq's neighbors in Sharm el-Sheikh on the future of Iraq. Bilateral contact between top U.S. and Iranian officials is now likely to be limited to pleasantries on the sidelines, officials from both countries said. After talks with European officials, the Bush administration has decided that any dialogue with Iran would be more enduring and significant if conducted through representatives of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rather than the Foreign Ministry. In Iran's government, Khamenei holds a lifetime appointment and has veto power over any government action, while the Foreign Ministry reports to President Ahmadinejad. In Washington and Tehran, Mottaki is not seen as an influential figure.

2007-05-03 01:00:00

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