Iraq urges US to engage with Iran to improve security in the Middle East

The Iraqi government says the US needs to take bolder steps to interact directly with Iran in order to improve security across the Middle East. Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie warned Washington that a strategy of aligning its Sunni Gulf allies against Iran would only further exacerbate tensions in the region. "The United States, until they seriously engage with Iran ... the long-term regional security will be in doubt," al-Rubaie said on Sunday, the final day of a regional security summit in the Bahraini capital Manama. It was a sharp rebuke to Washington a day after US Defense Secretary Robert Gates called on Persian Gulf countries to pressure Teheran to renounce its nuclear program.