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.
Sorry, a "senior administration official" cannot scare me anymore.
CNN is wasting time on this story; it's too difficult to decipher fact from fiction. Who really knows who is meeting who and why? We will certainly never know for sure what was discussed.
Can you post a story on which current administration member allowed contaminated food into my grocery store? Why can't I know the country of origin? Someone is benefiting from this hush hush, block, delay of the law?
Somehow I can guess that this will not be enough, a dog and pony show, too little to late, or see above a new one "the president and his henchmen messed with my food".
I thought my state had some issues, but some of the liberals in California need to group together and secede from the country.
When will we look the Iranians in the eye and ask, "Why are you a MAJOR supporter of terrorism and what will it take to make you knock it off?" This will be followed by a DIRECT question of their nuclear intentions since anyone in their right mind knows the answer.
I hope the 25+ yr (stall and delay tactic answer) is responded by "We already have nukes."
Enough p-footing around with these yahoos.
Shiite Muslim militias have historically had very close relations with Iran, long before any U.S. troops arrived in Iraq.
This was one key reason why Saddam held Sunni dominance over the Shiite muslims in Southern Iraq.
When they attempted to launch a rebellion against Saddam in '91 following the Gulf war, they were ruthlessly hunted down by his troops.
It has more to due with cultural and religious ties with Iran, more than Iran trying to meddle. The Shiite muslims in the South are more responsible for this than Iran is.
Just another reason why the invasion of Iraq was a blunder by inciting this type of secratarian violence and civil war between Shiite and Sunni's.
Why is our administration negotiating with the enemy – the "Axis of Evil"?
Weren't all the Righties ready to throw Pelosi in jail for treason for doing the EXACT same thing before Bush and his cronies thought it was a good idea too?
That would make them not only guilty of treason, but of following Pelosi's lead too right?
Hey Righties, How long should this administration be thrown in jail for then? The same amount of time as Pelosi should have right?
Tell us wont you?
LOL ...Gotta love the hypocrisy of this administration's backers!
Why can't we just get out of the middle east, mind our own business, and not have to worry about the terrorist anymore. The only reason the terrorist attack us is because we mess around in the middle east.
yep Anonymous .. you're dead on with your assessment!
The U.S. govt has a history of meddling in the Middle East and playing the Middle Eastern countries against each other like they were just pawns in our little game of chess for DECADES now – since at least the 1950's with Operation Ajax.
"It's the (invasive foreign) POLICIES stupid!"