Tuesday, May 8, 2007
"Abbas Araghchi, the Iranian deputy foreign minister who attended last week’s conference on Iraq’s future at Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, has offered Tehran’s co-operation to the US in developing an “exit strategy” from Iraq.
Mr Araghchi on Tuesday said America and Iran had the “same interests” in a stable Iraq and that direct talks leading to a “face-saving withdrawal” were possible with Washington’s goodwill.......
“Their invasion was a disaster – let there not be a disastrous withdrawal,” he said in an interview. “Yes, immediate withdrawal could lead to chaos, civil war. No one is asking for immediate withdrawal of foreign forces. But there should be a plan.”
Mr Araghchi, a career diplomat seen as a potential interlocutor with Washington, insisted the US presence was part of Iraq’s problem.
“Iraq is suffering a vicious cycle. There are foreign forces who have occupied Iraq and justify their presence under the pretext of the ‘war on terror’ and there are terrorists who claim they are fighting occupiers.”......"