debkafile reports: First official US-Iran dialogue in 27 years opens in Baghdad without an agreed agenda

DEBKfile’s Washington, Baghdad and Tehran sources report that prior to the talks Ambassadors Ryan Crocker and Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, are holding at the home of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki Monday, May 28, the two parties haggled over the agenda at secret conversations outside Iraq. They failed to agree.
A previous bid for a consensual agenda failed on May 4 at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference on Iraq’s future. Washington was represented then by Crocker and the state department’s coordinator on Iraq, David Satterfield, and Iran by Deputy foreign minister Abbas Aragchi. The Iranian official then handed the Americans a 10-point proposal, the substance of which was exclusively revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly 300 on May 11.
debkafile discloses two concessions concession on offer:
1. Iran is willing to join the American war on al Qaeda in Iraq.
2. Iran will agree to a goodwill gesture on its Iranian program.
The US side rejected Iran’s document at the time. Its content is not believed to have changed much in the intervening three weeks since the Sharm el-Sheikh conference. At the same time, it must be said that the talks in Baghdad Monday are the third in a row of bilateral meetings between US and Iranian officials in search of an agreed starting point. That too is progress.
The best sign that the dialogue has a serious future will be if it is raised to a higher level, bringing together, for instance, David Satterfield and the head of Iran’s national security council Ali Larijani.
For the moment, both sides are keeping up the heat.
The US is maintaining a mighty naval force in the Persian Gulf at a menacing distance from Iranian shores, while Tehran continues to send weapons, including the deadly EFP roadside bombs, over to Shiite and Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda in Iraq, and war materiel to Hizballah in Lebanon as well as the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami in the Gaza Strip.

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