US Ambassador Ryan Crocker on Sunday criticized Iran for trying to block a new security agreement between the United States and Iraq.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Crocker said a steady stream of public statements from clerical and political figures in Teheran make it clear that Iran is interfering in the bilateral negotiations between Iraq and the United States. The talks must conclude by the end of 2008.
The ambassador said Iran wants to keep Iraq "off-balance" to be able to control events in its Arab neighbor to its satisfaction.
The new agreement would govern the long-term status of US forces in Iraq and replace a temporary UN Security Council resolution.
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