US warns Iraq's Maliki over Iran

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush on Thursday warned Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against being too conciliatory with Iran after he appeared in Tehran for talks with senior leaders.

"If the signal is that Iran is constructive, I will have to have a heart to heart with my friend the prime minister because I do not believe they are," Bush said at a White House news conference.

Earlier Iran, which the United States blames for fomenting much of the bloodshed in Iraq, gave visiting Maliki its full support for restoring security but told him a pullout of US forces was the only way to end the violence.

"My message to him is, when we catch you playing a non-constructive role, there will be a price to pay," Bush said in remarks which could have been taken as a criticism of Maliki.

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe later said the "price to pay" remark by Bush was directed at Iran.

"The President has said that many times. We`ve arrested and detained Iranian agents inside Iraq ... that message was for Iran."

08/09/2007 15:49 GMT

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