Iraqi Leader Arrives in Iran for Talks - thought I read this trip was cancelled - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Iraqi Leader Arrives in Iran for Talks - thought I read this trip was cancelled

Iraqi Leader Arrives in Iran for Talks
Nov 27 10:16 AM US/Eastern
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Iraqi President Jalal Talabani arrived in Tehran on Monday to meet with his Iranian counterpart amid increasing calls for Washington to enlist Iran's help in calming the escalating violence in neighboring Iraq.
"Talabani arrived in Tehran minutes ago as the head of a high-level delegation," Iran's state-run television reported.

Iran has been trying to organize a summit joining President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Talabani and Syrian President Bashar Assad in a bid to assert its role as the top regional powerbroker.
Talabani had planned to come to Tehran on Saturday but had to postpone his trip until Baghdad's airport, which was closed in a security clampdown, reopened Monday.
Iranian officials have confirmed that an invitation was extended to Assad, but Syria has not responded.
Meanwhile, authorities lifted a three-day curfew in the capital and reopened the international airport Monday.
Fresh violence was reported as traffic began to return to the streets.
In central Baghdad, gunmen opened fire on a crowded street, killing six Iraqis and wounding three, some of whom were sitting in a parked car, said police Lt. Ali Muhsin.
In the southern district of Dora, one of the city's most violent areas, armed men in two cars attacked a police patrol at 8:30 a.m., wounding six policemen, said police 1st Lt. Abdul Razzaq. A half-hour later, other gunmen attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint, wounding four soldiers, he said.
Police in western Baghdad found the bodies of two Iraqis who had been kidnapped, blindfolded and shot, said police 1st Lt. Miathem Abdel- Razaq. Each week, the mutilated bodies of scores of Shiites and Sunnis are found across Iraq.
Police and witnesses also said U.S. soldiers shot and killed 11 civilians and wounded five on Sunday night in Husseiniya, a suburb about 13 miles outside northeast Baghdad.
The U.S. military said it could not immediately confirm that such an attack had taken place. The police and witnesses spoke with Associated Press Television News on condition of anonymity to protect their own security.
"We were sitting inside our house when the Americans showed up and started firing at homes. They killed many people and burned some houses," said one of the witnesses, a man with bandages on his head who was being treated at Imam Ali Hospital in the Shiite Sadr City slum.
On Monday, about 250 people attended a memorial service outside the hospital's morgue for the 11 victims, saying it was being conducted in the slum because the dead had been followers of radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The cleric and his Madhi Army militia are both based in Sadr City.
The U.S. command also said three of its soldiers were killed and two wounded during combat operations in Baghdad on Sunday, the day that Iraq's government began to lift the curfew by allowing Iraqis to leave their homes on foot to shop at their local fruit and vegetable markets.
Talabani had been scheduled to visit neighboring Iran on Saturday, but he had to postpone his trip because of the security clampdown imposed across Baghdad after Sunni insurgents killed more than 200 people in Sadr City on Thursday in the deadliest attack by militants since the war began in March 2003.
The U.S. wants Iran's mostly Shiite government to do more to help Iraq's Shiite-dominated government stem a surge in sectarian violence.
Talabani is a member of Iraq's Kurdish minority, but he had close ties with Iranian officials before Saddam Hussein was driven out by the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
The Bush administration has accused Tehran of arming and providing logistical assistance to Shiite militias, and British Defense Secretary Des Browne said Monday that Iran's behavior in Iraq remains a deep concern.
"Support from within Iran goes to groups who are attacking our forces, but also to groups who are simply fueling the sectarian violence. This is unacceptable, and also, in the end, counterproductive," Browne said in an address to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
Hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Iran is "ready to help" calm Iraq's fighting.
In Baqouba, the capital of Diyala province north of Baghdad, police said the area was mostly quiet on Monday morning after two days of fierce fighting.
On Sunday, at least 17 insurgents were killed and 15 detained, police said. Twenty civilians were kidnapped and three bodies found in the province. The mayor of a municipality also narrowly escaped an assassination attempt that killed one of his guards and wounded three.
In Baghdad on Sunday, Talabani, Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Sunni Parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani called for an end to Iraq's sectarian conflict and vowed to track down those responsible for the Sadr City attack. Al-Maliki is to meet with President Bush in neighboring Jordan on Wednesday and Thursday. At least 2,878 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
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