Report: U.S., Iranian officials hold secret meeting to discuss Iraq
U.S. officials held a private meeting with Iranian envoys in Europe last month to seek a promise of humanitarian help and an assurance that the Tehran government would not interfere in military operations if the United States goes to war against Iraq, the Washington Post reported Saturday.
U.S. diplomats carrying a carefully designed message also asked Iran to join search-and-rescue missions for downed U.S. air crews, officials reported. They further requested that the Iranian government deny haven to fleeing Iraqis who might try to cross into Iran and regroup against a U.S.-supported government in Baghdad.
According to the newspaper, a senior Bush administration official said the White House hopes the Iranians "will stay out of the way" if U.S.-led forces topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in favor of a pro-Western government. U.S. and U.N. officials report that signals from Tehran have been encouraging, although the Iranian government opposes military action. (Albawaba.com)