US and Iranian representatives met in Baghdad Monday for the first meeting of the joint security committee recently established to provide a venue for more regular discourse on Iraq's security.
Following the four-hour meeting, US Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi met for two hours to review the discussion of the committee. The two ambassadors agreed to establish the panel on July 24 during the second round of US-Iranian talks.
The US, Iranian, and Iraqi representatives reportedly sat at three separate conference tables during the meeting, which took place at an Iraqi government office inside the Green Zone. All sides must have agreed to report the discussions as "frank and serious."
US embassy spokesman Philip Reeker said the discussion was "frank and serious, and focused as agreed on security problems in Iraq"--words specifically echoed by the head of the Iranian expert team, Amir Abdollahian.
Both sides also exchanged the standard accusations, with US official accusing Tehran of training and funding Shi'ite militias, and the Iranian delegation blaming Iraq's security problems on American policy decisions.
Another meeting of the committee of experts is expected, though a date has not yet been set. Iran has been angling for a ministerial-level meeting between US and Iranian representatives, but US officials have said significant progress on bilateral issues must be made before that would occur.