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U.S. tries to shift its Iraq falure to Iran

All accusations by U.S. ambassador and top military commander that Iran was being unhelpful in Iraq were dismissed by Tehran, who said that American officials were trying to shift the blame for their own failure there.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini cited Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker who in congressional testimonies Monday said Iran is playing a harmful role in Iraq.

The testimonies dealt with the situation in Iraq since U.S. President George W. Bush sent 30,000 reinforcements to stem sectarian violence.

Petraeus and Crocker said that Iran has actively undermined its neighbor by providing lethal capabilities to the enemies of the Iraqi state. In doing so, Tehran is also seemingly ignoring the risks that an unstable Iraq presents to its own interests, they said.

"Raising this sort of claims and accusations will not be able to shift the burden for past mistakes and mismanagement by the U.S. toward Iraq's neighbors," Hosseini was quoted as saying by the state IRNA news agency.

The Bush administration seeks to divert its responsibility for the problems to others but such testimonies "cannot save the U.S. from Iraq's quagmire," Hosseini said

The U.S. has long accused Iran of arming Shiite Muslim militants in Iraq and seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies those claims, and blames the U.S. for Iraq's instability.

Despite rising tensions between them, Iran and the U.S. have held three rounds of talks on the situation in Iraq, most recently in early August.

The Shiite-dominated Iraqi government has been pushing for increased interaction between its two biggest allies who are also archenemies. But so far, U.S.-Iranian talks have achieved little.

Iran has signaled willingness to continue the talks, which are limited to the situation in Iraq and do not address other tension points between the two, such as Iran's controversial nuclear program.

The U.S. cut off diplomatic relations with Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and a militants' takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.