Iraqi funds bargaining chip for SOFA?

Oct. 3, 2008 at 7:19 PM
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BAGHDAD, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Iranian state-run media reported Friday Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said U.S. officials threatened to seize Iraqi funds if a long-term security deal failed.

The Iranian Press TV pointed to statements in the Iraqi media that said Talabani, a Kurd, expressed concern over threats from Washington regarding the security deal set to replace the expiring U.N. mandate for Iraq.

"Washington threatened to use any means to seize Iraqi assets if we do not support the security pact," Talabani was quoted as saying.

Talabani said earlier this week Baghdad would prefer to sign the deal with Washington while U.S. President George Bush was still in office, but said several issues, including the activity of U.S. forces and immunity for foreign contractors, still were in the negotiating stages.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi satellite channel al-Sumaria reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had told his Iraqi counterpart Tehran was ready to talk with Washington without condition regarding the security situation in the region.

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