US and Iranian diplomats met in Baghdad for their first formal direct talks in more than a quarter of a century May 28, to discuss the security situation in Iraq. Washington’s ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker called the proceedings “businesslike.” (LAT, May 28) Meanwhile in Iran, authorities summoned the Swiss Ambassador Philippe Welti to complain that a US espionage network organizing sabotage and subversion campaigns has been discovered.
Washington and Tehran have no diplomatic relations, but sometimes pass information through Swiss intermediaries. Iran is currently detaining scholar Haleh Esfandiari, who has dual US-Iranian citizenship. Iran says she admitted under interrogation to working to establish a network to topple the Iranian government. The Washington-based foundation she works with, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has denied the accusations. (VOA News, May 28)