US-Iran talks on Iraq to resume in Baghdad

The United States said ambassador-level talks with Iran that began Tuesday in Baghdad will focus solely on the situation in Iraq despite rising tensions over American-Iranians detained by Teheran and Iranians held in US custody in Iraq. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opened the meeting with a statement welcoming the attendants at his office in the heavily fortified Green Zone, then the Iraqi leader left the room, according to an official in his office, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. Iraqi state TV also reported that the meeting had begun. The detention of four American-Iranians in Iran has deepened tensions between Washington and Teheran, whose relations were already strained over Iran's controversial nuclear program and its support for radical militant groups like Lebanon's Hizbullah and the Palestinian Hamas and by US military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf.