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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ahmadinejad says Iran can talk to U.S. without mediators

RIA Novosti

11/03/2009 19:40 TEHRAN, March 11 (RIA Novosti) - Iran would have no need for third party mediation in talks with the U.S., Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday.

Turkish government officials recently offered to act as mediators to facilitate a rapprochement between Tehran and Washington. Iran and the U.S. have had no diplomatic relations for almost 30 years.

"There is no need for any mediation," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. He reiterated however that Tehran was only prepared to hold talks with the U.S. on the basis of "justice and mutual respect."

The Iranian president was speaking in Tehran at a news conference after the opening of the 10th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization.

The United States and Iran have had no direct diplomatic relations since April 1980. Ties were cut by Washington some five months after radical Iranian students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 52 U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days.

In late January, U.S. President Barack Obama called both the Iranian people and Persian civilization "great." However, he also said that, "Iran has acted in ways that's not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region."

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