The United States is engaged in intense, secret negotiations with Iran for the transfer of suspected members of al-Qaida who fled from northern Iraq into Iran during the just-concluded war, United Press International has learned. On May 2, the president’s special envoy to the Iraqi opposition, Zalmay Khalilzad, met with an Iranian government delegation that included members of the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard in Geneva to discuss the rendition of senior members of Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaida offshoot. In exchange, the Iranian delegation has asked the United States to hand over members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization captured in operations in northern Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein’s protection, the group used Iraqi soil to stage attacks on Iran. Tehran and Washington regard it as a terrorist organization. But during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Washington signed a cease-fire deal with members of the group, allowing it to keep its weapons to defend itself from attacks by Iran. Full Story
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