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U.S. asks Iran to stop militia support in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United States’ top official in Baghdad described rare talks with his Iranian counterpart on Monday as positive but said he had asked Tehran to stop supporting militias in Iraq with training and weapons.

“The talks proceeded positively. What we need to see is Iranian action on the ground,” U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker told reporters.

The two sides held their most high-profile talks in almost three decades on Monday to discuss Iraq’s spiraling violence.

The meeting marked a reversal by Washington, which broke ties with Iran in 1980 and has largely sought to isolate the Islamic Republic in recent years.

“I laid out before the Iranians a number of direct, specific concerns about their behavior in Iraq -- their support for militias that are fighting both the Iraqi security forces and the coalition forces.” Crocker told a news conference.

“The fact (is) that a lot of explosives and ammunitions used by these groups are coming from Iran ... The Iranians did not respond directly to that, they did again emphasize that their policy is support of the government,” he said.

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