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  Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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The U.S., Iran and Iraq agreed Monday to set up a committee on security issues in Iraq
The U.S., Iran and Iraq agreed Monday to set up a committee on security issues in Iraq, the Iranian ambassador to Baghdad said following a rare display of direct diplomacy between Washington and Tehran. The four-hour talks between the U.S. and Iranian Ambassadors Ryan Crocker and Hassan Kazemi Qomi in the U.S.-controlled "Green Zone" in Baghdad ended in smiles earlier Monday, but featured mutual accusations of supporting opponents and adversaries. "During the talks, the sides agreed to set up a trilateral committee on security that would help Iraq resolve security issues and strengthen the defense capability of that country," local media quoted the Iranian diplomat as saying. "In the political field, the two sides agreed to support and strengthen the Iraqi government, which was another positive item achieved in these talks," he said. He also said the Iraqi officials had called for further discussion of security in Iraq, but did not specify either a date for the new round of talks or a timeline for future consultations on the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. According to Kazemi Qomi, the Bush administration had agreed to the Baghdad talks, which came at the request of Iraqi leaders, because Washington, caught in a failing attempt to establish democratic rule in Iraq after toppling Saddam Hussein's regime four years ago, had been forced to seek the help of its long-time rival to escape the current deadlock. As expected, the talks did not touch on the most controversial issue of bilateral relations - Iran's nuclear program. Iran and the United States severed official relations following the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by radical students in the wake of the Iranian revolution that toppled the Shah. American personnel were held hostage for 444 days.
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