BERLIN, June 9 (UPI) -- A former U.S. defense secretary suggested the United States and Iran restore diplomatic relations to help settle the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.
William Perry, who ran the Pentagon during the Clinton administration, told Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency in Berlin that a "positive" approach to the negotiations might bring about more progress toward a peaceful settlement.
Perry, 85, stressed he did not speak for the U.S. government and did not consider exchanging ambassadors or one-on-one negotiations between the two nations to be absolutely necessary to defusing the potential crisis.
"I am certainly in favor of direct talks, but I don't think it should be considered key to the issue because the Iranian nuclear program affects many nations besides the United States," he said.
Perry added he was hopeful about a peaceful solution now that the United States was back at the negotiating table and Russia and China were taking a more active role in the discussions.
Iran says its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful civilian purposes and not to make a nuclear weapon.