US and Iran hold fresh Iraq talks
The US and Iraq are having a little chat. This is the second meeting since the envoys met in May for their historic first encounter in Baghdad, the second bilateral meeting in 27 years. The US envoy to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, are meeting in Baghdad. Last night in the Democratic debate Barack Obama claimed he would meet with just about anyone anytime, including Iran. The US is meeting Iran for the second time (officially)in twenty seven years. There does seem to be some room in the middle.
...The US blames Iran for supporting some of those who are attacking US and UK troops in Iraq, while Iran blames the US troop presence for Iraq's troubles.BBC
The insurgency and related sectarian violence in Iraq are causing thousands of deaths every month.
The talks began with a heated exchange between the Iranian and US ambassadors, the Associated Press quotes an anonymous Iraqi official as saying.
Mr Crocker charged the Iranians with providing training and weapons to the Shia militias behind violence in Baghdad and beyond, the AP reports.
Mr Kazemi-Qomi reportedly brushed aside the allegations, saying that the US had no proof of its claims.
On Monday, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani held separate talks with the two ambassadors to urge them to work together to improve his country's security.
However, ahead of the talks, the US and Iran continued to blame each other for the situation.
Timeline: US-Iran ties
A chronology of key events:
1953 US and British intelligence services help Iranian military officers depose Prime Minister Muhammad Mussadeq, a leading exponent of nationalising the oil industry.
Ayatollah Khomeini's legacy still overshadows US-Iranian relations
1979 16 January - US-backed Shah of Iran forced to leave the country after widespread demonstrations and strikes.
1979 1 February - Islamic religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini returns from exile and takes effective power.
1979 4 November - Iranian students seize 63 hostages at US embassy in Tehran, prompting drawn-out crisis leading to severing of diplomatic ties and sweeping US sanctions against Iran. Their initial demand is that the Shah return from the US to Iran to face trial. Later Iran also demands the US undertake not to interfere in its affairs.
1980 25 April - Secret US military mission to rescue hostages ends in disaster in sandstorm in central Iranian desert.
1980 27 July - Exiled Shah dies of cancer in Egypt, but hostage crisis continues.
1980 22 September - Iraq invades, sparking a war with Iran which lasts the rest of the decade. While several Western countries provide support to Iraq during the war, Iran remains diplomatically isolated.
1981 20 January - Last 52 US hostages freed in January after intense diplomatic activity. Their release comes a few hours after US President Jimmy Carter leaves office. They had been held for 444 days.
1985/6 US holds secret talks with Iran and makes weapons shipments, allegedly in exchange for Iranian assistance in releasing US hostages in Lebanon. With revelations that profits were illegally channelled to Nicaraguan rebels, this creates the biggest crisis of Ronald Reagan's US presidency.
1987/8 US forces engage in series of encounters with Iranian forces, including strikes on Gulf oil platforms.
The hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran lasted 444 days
19883 July - US cruiser Vincennes mistakenly shoots down Iran Air Airbus over the Gulf, killing all 290 people on board.
1989 3 June - Ayatollah Khomeini dies. President Khamenei is appointed supreme leader the following day.
1989 17 August - Hashemi Rafsanjani sworn in as president, with apparent backing of both conservatives and reformers in the leadership.
1990/91 Iran remains neutral in US-led intervention in Kuwait. Rapprochement with West hindered by Ayatollah Khomeini's 1989 religious edict ordering that British author Salman Rushdie be killed for offending Islam in one of his novels.
1992/3 Iran criticises perceived US regional interference in the wake of the Gulf War and the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
1993 US President Bill Clinton takes office.
1995 President Clinton imposes oil and trade sanctions on Iran for alleged sponsorship of "terrorism", seeking to acquire nuclear arms and hostility to the Middle East process. Iran denies the charges.
1996 Mr Clinton stiffens sanctions with penalties against any firm that invests $40m or more a year in oil and gas projects in Iran and Libya.
The Khatami presidency has not led to closer US-Iranian relations
1997 23 May - Muhammad Khatami elected president of Iran.
1998 President Khatami calls for a "dialogue with the American people" in American TV interview. But in a sermon a few weeks later he is sharply critical of US "oppressive policies".
1999 Twentieth anniversary of US embassy siege. Hardliners celebrate the occasion, as reformists look to the future rather than the past.
2000 18 February - Iranian reformists win landslide victory in general election. Shortly afterwards, President Clinton extends ban on US oil contracts with Iran, accusing it of continuing to support international terrorism.
2000 March - US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright calls for a new start in US-Iranian relations and announces lifting of sanctions on Iranian exports ranging from carpets to food products. Iranian foreign ministry initially welcomes the move, but Ayatollah Khamenei later describes it as deceitful and belated.
2000 September - Mrs Albright meets Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi at UN in New York - the first such talks since diplomatic ties were severed in 1979.
2001 June - The US alleges that elements within the Iranian Government were directly involved in the bombing of an American military base in Saudi Arabia in 1996. Tehran angrily rejects the allegations.
Bush branded Iran as part of an "axis of evil"
2001 September - Report by Central Intelligence Agency accuses Iran of having one of the world's most active programmes to acquire nuclear weapons. The CIA report says Iran is seeking missile-related technology from a number of countries including Russia and China.
2002 29 January - US President George W Bush, in his State of the Union address, describes Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil". He warns that the proliferation of long-range missiles being developed in these countries is as great a danger to the US as terrorism. The speech causes outrage in Iran and is condemned by reformists and conservatives alike.
2002 September - Russian technicians begin construction of Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr despite strong objections from US.
2002 December - The US accuses Iran of seeking to develop a secret nuclear weapons programme and publishes satellite images of two nuclear sites under construction at Natanz and Arak.
2003 February-May - The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducts a series of inspections in Iran. The country confirms that there are sites at Natanz and Arak under construction, but insists that these, like Bushehr, are designed solely to provide fuel for future power plants.
2003 June - White House refuses to rule out the "military option" in dealing with Iran after IAEA says Iran "failed to report certain nuclear materials and activities". But IAEA does not declare Iran in breach of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Iran's account of its nuclear programme failed to satisfy the US
2003 September - Washington says Iran is not complying with non-proliferation accords but agrees to support proposal from Britain, France and Germany to give Iran until end of October fully to disclose nuclear activities and allow surprise inspections.
2003 October-November - Tehran agrees to suspend its uranium enrichment programme and allow tougher UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. An IAEA report says Iran has admitted producing plutonium but adds there is no evidence that it was trying to build an atomic bomb. However, US dismisses the report as "impossible to believe". The IAEA votes to censure Iran but stops short of imposing sanctions.
2003 December - US sends humanitarian aid to Iran after earthquake kills up to 50,000 people in city of Bam. US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Iran's permanent envoy to UN, Mohammad Javad Zarif, hold telephone talks in a rare direct contact.
2004 January - President Bush denies that US has changed its policy towards Tehran and says moves to help Iran in the wake of earthquake do not indicate a thaw in relations.
2004 March - A UN resolution condemns Iran for keeping some of its nuclear activities secret. Iran reacts by banning inspectors from its sites for several weeks.
2004 September - The IAEA passes a resolution giving a November deadline for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. Iran rejects the call and begins converting raw uranium into gas.
A US nuclear monitor publishes satellite images of an Iranian weapons facility which it says may be involved in work on nuclear arms.
2004 November - Iran agrees to a European offer to suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for trade concessions. At the last minute, Tehran backs down from its demand to exclude some centrifuges from the freeze. The US says it maintains its right to send Iran unilaterally to the UN Security Council if Tehran fails to fulfil its commitment.
2005 January - Europe and Iran begin trade talks. The European trio, France, Germany and the UK, demand Iran stop its uranium enrichment programme permanently.
Condoleezza Rice says the US is looking for a diplomatic solution
2005 February - Iranian President Mohammed Khatami says his country will never give up nuclear technology, but stresses it is for peaceful purposes. Russia backs Tehran, and signs a deal to supply fuel to Iran's Bushehr reactor.
New US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says attacking Iran is not on the US agenda "at this point in time".
2005 March - President George W Bush signals a major change in policy towards Iran. He says the US will back the negotiation track led by the European trio - EU3 - and offer economic incentives for the Islamic state to give up its alleged nuclear ambitions.
Mr Bush announces the US will lift a decade-long block on Iran's membership of the World Trade Organization, and objections to Tehran obtaining parts for commercial planes.
2005 June - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tehran's ultra-conservative mayor, wins a run-off vote in presidential elections, defeating cleric and former president Hashemi Rafsanjani.
2005 July - The US concludes that President Ahmadinejad was a leader of the group behind the 1979 hostage crisis at its embassy in Tehran, but says it is unsure whether he took an active part in taking Americans prisoner.
2005 August - President George W Bush makes the first of several statements in which he refuses to rule out using force against Iran.
Ahmadinejad says Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear technology
2005 August-September - Tehran says it has resumed uranium conversion at its Isfahan plant and insists the programme is for peaceful purposes. The IAEA finds Iran in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
2006 March - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the US faces "no greater challenge" than Iran's nuclear programme.
2006 April - A report in the New Yorker suggests the US is planning a tactical nuclear strike against underground nuclear sites - a claim Washington denies. Iran says it will retaliate against any attack and complains to the UN.
Iran announces it has successfully enriched uranium - prompting Ms Rice to demand "strong steps" by the UN. An IAEA report concludes Iran has not complied with a Security Council demand that it suspend uranium enrichment. Mr Ahmadinejad insists the pursuit of peaceful nuclear technology is Iran's "absolute right".
Tehran offers to hold direct talks with Washington on the situation in Iraq, in what would have been the first such talks since 1980. Tehran later withdraws the offer.
2006 May - The US, Britain and France table a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment or face "further action".
In response, Iran's parliament threatens to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if pressure over its nuclear programme increases.
Later that month, the US offers to join EU nations in direct talks with Iran if it agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing work.
2006 December - The UN Security Council unanimously passes a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.
2007 January - Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns says that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard had been arrested in Iraq. He said they had been "engaged in sectarian warfare".
In his State of the Union address on 24 January, Mr Bush lumps Iran with al-Qaeda: "It has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who...take direction from the regime in Iran," he says. "The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat."
A few days later, seeking to ease concerns about a future military confrontation with Iran, the US president says he has "no intent" to attack the country.
2007 February - US officials say they have proof that Iran has provided sophisticated weapons which have been used to kill American soldiers in Iraq.
This is rebuffed by President Ahmadinejad in an interview with an American television station. He dismisses the claims as an "excuses to prolong the stay" of US forces.
2007 March - The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, holds a meeting with an Iranian team at a conference of Iraq's neighbours in Baghdad.
The talks are the first formal encounter between the two sides for more than two years.
2007 May - The US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Kazemi Qomi hold the first high-level talks between the two countries in almost 30 years.