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Foreign Minister Says Iran Is Open To Talks With U.S.

Sun, February 3, 2013 1:57pm

Story by Krishnadev Calamur


Iran's foreign minister on Sunday welcomed Vice President Joe Biden's comments that the U.S. was willing to hold direct talks with the Islamic republic over its nuclear program.

"We have no red line for bilateral negotiations when it comes to negotiating over a particular subject," Ali Akbar Salehi said at a security conference in Munich, Germany. "If the subject is the nuclear file, yes, we are ready for negotiations but we have to make sure ... that the other side this time comes with authentic intention, with a fair and real intention to resolve the issue."

Biden spoke at the same conference on Saturday, and spelled out the conditions for talks with Iran.

"We have made it clear at the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally with the Iranian leadership, we would not make it a secret that we were doing that, we would let our partners know if that occasion presented itself," Biden said. "That offer stands, but it must be real and tangible and there has to be an agenda that they are prepared to speak to. We are not just prepared to do it for the exercise."

Here's The Associated Press on the state of negotiations involving Iran's nuclear program:

"Meanwhile, talks involving all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany have made little headway, while several rounds of international sanctions have cut into Iran's oil sales and financial transactions.

"The next round of talks with the six powers will be held Feb. 25 in Kazakhstan, Salehi told the Munich Security Conference."

The West accuses Iran of developing capabilities for a nuclear weapon; Tehran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, non-military uses.

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