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Iran may consider official US request for talks: Hosseini

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Jan 21, IRNA
Iran would consider Washington's official request for negotiations on regional issues, said a senior Iranian official Sunday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini made the remark while speaking to domestic and foreign reporters.

Asked about Iran's nuclear case, he said "No change has occurred in Iran's nuclear stance. The issue of suspension of enrichment is not acceptable because it has no legal and rational basis."

Pointing to the US President George Bush's new strategy on Iraq and the US attack on Iran's consulate general in the Iraqi city of Erbil on January 11, he added, "The US intends to make broad scale arrests at different levels and in various regions of Iraq in the future.

"The new approach will escalate tension in Iraq and the region," said the spokesman.

In reply to a question whether Iran was following up the release of Iranian diplomats through direct or indirect contacts with the US, he said, "Iran is pursuing the case via the Iraqi officials. There is no need to hold direct talks with the Americans."

In response to a question on the date of a scheduled visit to Tehran of France's special envoy, he said, "The sides have not reached a final agreement on the date and level of the visit."

On recent remarks by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei who has acknowledged Iran is not engaged in any undeclared nuclear activities, the spokesman expressed hope that relevant officials in European and non-European states would opt for negotiations.

He also said the Qatari foreign minister was to arrive in Tehran today (Sunday).


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