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Iraq urges Obama to talk to Iran

The Iraqi government on Thursday called on US president-elect Barack Obama and his future administration to open a dialogue with Iran to deal with the Middle East's problems.

world Updated: Dec 11, 2008 18:13 IST

The Iraqi government on Thursday called on US president-elect Barack Obama and his future administration to open a dialogue with Iran to deal with the Middle East's problems.

"I call on the new administration to open a dialogue with Iran to resolve the exceptional problems which are affecting stability in the region," Ali al-Dabbagh, the government spokesman, said in a statement received today.

"The time has come for a new policy respected by all countries and based on principles of non-interference in states' internal affairs, respect for the wishes of populations, respect of international law and avoiding recourse to force or threats," said the statement issued after an international conference in Washington in which Dabbagh took part.

On Sunday, Obama confirmed his intention to hold talks with Iran, stating his readiness to end a 30-year stand-off between Washington and Tehran.

"We need to ratchet up tough but direct diplomacy with Iran," he said in an interview aired on the NBC television programme "Meet the Press" in the United States on Sunday, promising a "set of carrots and sticks."

Security in Iraq has improved greatly this year, but US officials continue to say that Iran is financing, arming and training armed Iraqi groups -- a claim Tehran denies.