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US tepid to more talks with Iran on Iraq security
WASHINGTON Oct 23 (Reuters) - The United States is uncertain whether to hold further discussions with Iran about improving security in Iraq because earlier talks failed to produce results, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.
The Bush administration has accused the Qods force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard of providing training and arms to insurgents in Iraq which have been used in attacks against U.S.-led forces. Tehran has denied the U.S. accusations.
Senior U.S., Iranian and Iraqi officials last held direct talks in July and agreed to set up a panel to help improve security. It met in early August.
"There has been no significant change in Iranian behavior in Iraq that can be attributed to the bilateral discussions that were held, this is a matter of concern to us," David Satterfield, the U.S. coordinator for Iraq, told a small group of reporters.
He said the United States had made it clear to Iranian officials that talks had not produced results and he expressed doubt over whether they would be resumed in the near future.
"Any decision to initiate such talks, the level at which they would be conducted, the timing of those talks, that all remains to be decided, and indeed the question of "if" remains to be decided," he said.
The United States has been considering applying sanctions against the Qods force, the elite arm of the Revolutionary Guard, which would enable Washington to target its financing.
Satterfield again blamed senior Iranian government officials for orchestrating the activities in Iraq by the Revolutionary Guard.
"We believe their actions are very much under the direction and authority of the most senior levels of the Iranian government," he said.
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