June 27, 2007 / 7:34 AM / 13 years ago

Iran says backs Iraq gov't, U.S. trying to hurt ties

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran’s supreme leader said his country backed the Iraqi government and accused the United States of seeking to undermine Tehran’s ties with Baghdad, the Iranian student news agency ISNA reported.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority under its system of clerical rule, was speaking to visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on Tuesday.

Iran has said it is studying an Iraqi request to hold more talks with U.S. officials in Baghdad about Iraqi security after a first round of discussions in May that were the most high profile Iranian-U.S. meeting in almost three decades.

Both sides described that meeting as positive but no date has been fixed for another session.

“Those mainly behind the insecurity of Iraq and catastrophes (in Iraq) are the spy networks of America, the Zionist regime (Israel) and some countries who walk beside them,” Khamenei was quoted as saying at the meeting with Talabani.

“Americans are against the development of relations between Iran and Iraq and are trying to create some disorder in this relationship but one should stand against this (effort).”

Washington accuses Iran of stoking violence in Iraq, a country with which Iran fought an eight-year war in the 1980s when Saddam Hussein was in power. Tehran dismisses the accusations and says U.S. forces are behind the instability.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran seriously supports the current government of Iraq,” Khamenei added.

Talabani was also due to meet Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of Iraq’s largest parliamentary bloc who is in Iran for medical treatment, Iranian media reported.

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