Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq told the Obama administration this month that Iran was interested in direct talks with the United States on its nuclear program, and said that Iraq was prepared to facilitate the negotiations, the New York Times reported today, quoting Western officials.
In a meeting in early July with the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, Mr. Maliki suggested that he was relaying a message from Iranian officials and asserted that President-elect Hassan Rouhani would be serious about any discussions with the U.S.
“The Iranians see Maliki as somebody they have some trust in,” said Mr. Samore, the director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. “From Maliki’s standpoint, it would serve a number of different purposes. He does not want to be squeezed between Washington and Tehran.” (The New York Times, 26 July)
In a separate move on Thursday, the State and Treasury Departments announced that the United States was expanding the list of medical devices, like dialysis machines, that could be sold to Iran without a license.
Photo credit: Secretary of State John Kerry meeting with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq, center, in Baghdad in March (Jason Reed, Pool Photo/New York Times)