Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Thursday that Teheran was ready to open talks with the United States over Iraq, marking a major Iranian foreign policy shift.
This is the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran is officially calling for dialogue with the United States, which it has repeatedly condemned as "the Great Satan."
"To resolve Iraqi issues and help establishment of an independent and free government in Iraq, we agree to (talks with the United States)," Ali Larijani told a closed meeting of the parliament Thursday.
It was not immediately clear what Larijani was talking about. But the United States has repeatedly accused Iran of meddling in Iraq's affairs, and even sending weapons and fighters to help the insurgency.
Iran also has expressed grave concerns about the prospect of more violence in Iraq, where bloody sectarian fighting and reprisal killings have broken out in recent weeks.
Larijani did not address the nuclear issue, which the United States and Iran are currently in dispute over.