US ambassador wants talks with Iran over Iraq

Formation of a national unity government in Baghdad has cleared the way for proposed direct talks between the United States and Iran about the situation inside Iraq, US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Sunday. But the topic of the talks from the US viewpoint is supposed to be an exchange of views on the situation in Iraq, rather than broader subjects like Iran's controversial nuclear program or Iran's renewed verbal hostility to Israel. "We'd be prepared to consider talking with them once the government of national unity is formed," he said. He declined to specify how talks might begin, saying only, "There are channels for communicating." "We have a lot of issues to discuss with them with regard to our concerns and what we envision for Iraq, and be prepared to listen to their concerns," Khalilzad said. High on the U.S. agenda, he said, would be alleged transfer of weapons from Iran into Iraq.