Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will attend the Sharm el-Skeikh conference on Iraq later this week.
US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will be also attending the conference and she is expected to meet with Mottaki. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari welcomed Rice-Mottaki talks as a breakthrough in reducing tensions in the region.
The Iranian government had set the release of the five Iranians held by US forces in Iraq as a precondition to attend the Sharm el-Skeikh conference. The US government refused to release the five, but the Iranians decided to attend anyway. The move is seen as a major political setback for the Islamic Republic.