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New Round of US-Iran Talks On Iraq Announced

Perhaps as soon as Saturday, the US and Iran are set to hold more talks on Iraq's future, it has been announced. But the talks should not be confused with negotiation.

While Iran publicly has welcomed more talks, State Department spokesman Scott McCormack said, "We think that . . . it would be appropriate to have another face-to-face meeting to directly convey to the Iranian authorities that if they wish to see a more stable, secure, peaceful Iraq -- which is what they have said they would like to see -- that they need to change their behavior."

The meeting comes amid rising tensions and an IAEA announcement that the UN body and Iran have agreed on inspections and a "modality" to move forward on unresolved matters regarding Iran's nuclear program. Skeptics view the Iranian move as another stall for time, noting that the "modality" is nothing more than an agreement on how to proceed with more talks, not any concrete resolution of outstanding matters.

Bomb Kills 15 At Islamabad Anti-Musharraf Demonstration

While al-Qaeda suicide attacks since the Lal Masjid mosque compound was raided had been limited to areas in or bordering the FATA and NWFP, Tuesday saw a suicide bomber attack in Islamabad, though the source of the attack is unknown. At first glance, the Islamabad attack would appear counterintuitive for al-Qaeda, as it struck an anti-Musharraf protest that was to have former Pakistani Chief Justice Chaudhry addressing the crowd. The suicide bomber detonated the bomb before Chaudhry arrived and killed 15 activists and police officers.

Back in the FATA on Wednesday, a coordinated roadside bomb-small arms attack on a Pakistani military convoy killed 14 on the road linking Bannu to North Waziristan's Miranshah capital. Miranshah also saw rocket attacks, but none of them netted any known casualties.

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