US and Iranian officials have scheduled to meet in Iraq on May 28, Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Thursday.
The much-anticipated talks between ambassadorial-level representatives of the estranged nations are being held at the request of the Iraqi government, with their security problems topping the agenda.
Mottaki, speaking at a press conference at the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad, reiterated Iran's position that Iraq's problems have resulted from bad US policy decisions, and said the meeting would strictly focus on discussing the security and stability of its neighbor.
"Negotiation is limited to Iraq, in Iraq, and will start in the presence of Iraqi officials," Mottaki said.
Mottaki declined the notion that Iran's nuclear program would be an item for discussion.
"Nothing but Iraq on the agenda," he insisted.
Iran plans to send an “expert diplomat” at ambassador level to the talks, while the US has appointed one of their ambassadors as chief negotiator, Mottaki said.
Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari said the discussions will be a part of three-party talks, involving the United States, Iran and Iraq.
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker told reporters in Baghdad that he did not expect "any stunning, startling breakthroughs" from the first meeting.
"Their support for militias, their involvement in the development and transfer of EFPs that are killing our forces, these are not good things," Crocker said.
"It would be a very good thing if they brought their actions more into alignment with their words."