BAGHDAD – Iran agreed Sunday to join the U.S. and other countries at a conference on Iraq this week, raising hopes the government in Tehran would help stabilize its violent neighbor and stem the flow of guns and bombs over the border.
In an apparent effort to drive home that point, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told an Iranian envoy that the persistent violence in Iraq – some of it carried out by the Shiite militias Iran is accused of arming – could spill over into neighboring countries, including those that are “supposed to support the Iraqi government.”
Iraq’s other neighbors as well as Egypt, Bahrain and representatives of the five permanent U.N. Security Council members have agreed to attend the meeting Thursday and Friday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheik.
Hours earlier, al-Maliki’s office announced that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had telephoned to say a delegation from his country would attend the conference.
Four U.S. soldiers killed
In other Iraq news, the military said early today that four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were killed in separate attacks in Baghdad, including three in a single roadside bombing, pushing the month’s American toll above 100.
The roadside bomb killed three Multi-National Division-Baghdad soldiers and wounded another while they were on a combat patrol Sunday in eastern Baghdad, the military said. An Iraqi interpreter also was killed.
Another Multi-National Division-Baghdad soldier on a combat patrol was killed by small arms fire in eastern Baghdad Saturday, the military said in a separate statement.
The names of the dead were not available late Sunday.