WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. and Iranian ambassadors to Iraq will meet this week to discuss security issues in the war-torn country, a senior Bush administration official said Sunday.
It would be the second meeting between U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and his Iranian counterpart, even though the United States and Iran have had no formal diplomatic relations since 1980.
U.S. officials have accused Iran of interfering in the U.S.-led war in Iraq by supplying Shiite Muslim militias with weaponry and training, fueling the sectarian warfare that U.S. and Iraqi troops are trying to tamp down.
Crocker first met with Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi on May 28.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose ruling party has close ties to Tehran, said this week's planned meeting would "strengthen the bridges of trust" between the two countries.
But the senior official added, "We've seen no sign of improvement in Iranian behavior. They still arm, aid and train militants."
In preparation for the meeting, Crocker met Sunday in Baghdad with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Zebari's office announced.
"Ambassador Crocker expressed his satisfaction with the efforts made by the minister to hold this meeting," according to a statement from the foreign minister's office.
The meeting comes the Bush administration has come under increasing pressure to show signs of progress in Iraq ahead of a mid-September report by Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq. The war has become widely unpopular in the United States, and President Bush's fellow Republicans in Congress have had to rely on filibuster tactics to block Democratic-led efforts to start pulling U.S. combat troops out of Iraq.
The senior administration official said both Iran and the Sunni Muslim fighters of al Qaeda in Iraq are considered "accelerants" of the ongoing fighting, which has claimed more than 3,600 American lives since the March 2003 invasion that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.