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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Iran agrees to join talks on insurgents

BAGHDAD — Iran agreed to participate with the United States and other countries in a conference about Iraq this week that aims in part to get surrounding countries to stop aiding the insurgency with bombs, guns and terrorists.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told an Iranian envoy that the persistent violence in Iraq — some of it carried out by the Shiite militias that Iran is accused of arming — could spill over into neighboring countries.

It was al-Maliki's office that announced that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had telephoned to say a delegation from his country would attend the conference.

Iraq's other neighbors, as well as Egypt, Bahrain and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members have agreed to attend the meeting Thursday and Friday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik.

The conference will include U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In Washington, Rice did not rule out a meeting with the Iranians.