Zalmay Khalilzad, US ambassador to Iraq, and Abbas Aragachi, deputy foreign minister of Iran, had a brief but reportedly constructive exchange of words Saturday at the international peace talks in Baghdad.
Khalilzad "declined to give details of the contacts — calling them only 'constructive and businesslike and problem-solving' — but noted that he raised U.S. assertions that Shiite militias receive weapons and assistance across the border from Iran," acording to the AP.
Aragachi reportedly reiterated Iranian demands for a scheduled date of withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq, which he insists makes the country a magnet for Islamic extremists.
"Violence in Iraq is good for no country in the region," said Araghchi, deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, at a post-meeting news conference.
Araghchi said he did not meet privately with Khalilzad, but that all dialogue "was within the framework of the meeting" — which he said had "very good interaction by all the delegations."
Khalilzad, too, called it a "first step."