Iraq's national security adviser said the United States must engage Iran if its wants security across the region in a sharp rebuke to Washington just a day after US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told skeptical Gulf Arab countries about the need to pressure Teheran.
The conflict highlighted the difficult line the US is trying to walk with Iran, isolating the country over its nuclear program, while pursuing limited engagement to enlist its support in Iraq.
The danger is that Iran could further increase instability in neighboring Iraq if it feels the US is pressuring it over the nuclear issue - potentially damaging the regional security the US is trying to preserve by thwarting Teheran's atomic ambitions.
Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie's call for greater US interaction with Iran came as Teheran announced that it was studying an Iraqi proposal to hold a fourth round of ambassador-level talks with the US over security in Iraq.
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