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Iran isn't interfering in internal Iraqi affairs as some US officials have contended, the head of Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim told CNN on Sunday. "They always accuse Iran of such things, and they told us about such things even from the first month that we've been here until now," he told CNN through a translator. "And we were always asking for evidence , but nobody came with evidence."
Al-Hakim recently asked Iran to hold talks with the United States about the accusations -- Iran accepted Iraqi leader's request on the ground of good neighborly relations with Iraq.
CNN quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying on Saturday that although Iran does not trust the Bush administration, it will hold the talks with the United States about Iraq because doing so is in the best interest of Iraqis and the Muslim world, according to IRNA. CNN quoted IRNA as saying that Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, okayed last week an "exchange of views with the United States."
Al-Hakim told CNN that Iran is important to Iraq's security.
"This issue is not only connected to Iran but with all neighboring countries," he said. "First of all, they've got strong and capable security forces. They can help in controlling the borders. "Secondly, they've got a lot of information that would benefit Iraq regarding terrorism operations. And third, we can benefit from the experience of all neighboring countries."
"Iraq needs this help because of the special circumstances that the country is passing through in building various establishments -- economic establishments as well as the security issue, which is the most important," he continued. "This will all lead to rebuilding the new Iraq that we all want to see."
"This is why we (SCIRI) made our move and we call for them, Iran to publicly open the dialogue with the United States -- and we hope that such a dialogue can solve a lot of problems."
Al-Hakim blamed the violence in Iraq on "religious extremists and the Saddam loyalists who are launching sectarian genocidal campaigns against the Shia Muslims and anyone who believes in the political process and wants to be a part of it."
CNN said that while sectarian violence has rocked the country, al-Hakim denied that Shia groups are generally opposed to Sunni Arab participation in Iraqi affairs.