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IraqSide:Developments
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US-Iran Agree to Form Joint Committee
Iraq, Iran, US Experts Will Sit on Panel for Cooperation on Security Issues
07/24/2007 1:54 PM ET
Baghdad, IRAQ: A picture released by Iraq's Prime Minister's Office, 24 July 2007 shows Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki (3rdL) attending with members of his government the US-Iranian talks in Baghdad.
AFP/Getty
Baghdad, IRAQ: A picture released by Iraq's Prime Minister's Office, 24 July 2007 shows Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki (3rdL) attending with members of his government the US-Iranian talks in Baghdad.

The second round of US-Iran talks have resulted in a significant breakthrough, with the two sides agreeing to form a new panel for more regular cooperation on Iraq security issues.

"We discussed ways forward and one of the issues we discussed was the formation of a security subcommittee that would address at a expert or technical level some issues relating to security, be that support for violent militias, Al Qaeda or border security," Ambassador Ryan Crocker told reporters after the meeting.

Crocker said the details of who would participate in the panel and when it would meet are to be worked out in the next few days, adding "If the Iranians are prepared to line their practice up with their policy and use this forum as a means of doing so, then we want to see if that is what will happen."

Thus far, he said, Iranian words have not matched with their actions. Though Iran expressed concern about militia activity in the first round of talks in late May, Crocker said intelligence indicated the actions had only increased.

"I was as clear as I could be with the Iranians that this effort, this discussion, has to be measured in results, not in principles or promises, and that thus far the results on the ground are not encouraging," he said.

"Over the roughly two months since our last meeting, we've actually seen militia-related activity that can be attributed to Iranian support go up, and not down," Crocker said.

US accusations that Iran sponsors Iraqi militias set an underlying tension for the entire meeting, with early reports indicating that Crocker and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, got into a heated exchange when the American ambassador raised the subject.

Speaking after Crocker's press conference, the Iranian ambassador, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, countered that Tehran was helping Iraq deal with the security situation but that Iraqis were "victimized by terror and the presence of foreign forces" on their territory.

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