White House: No one-on-one talks with Iran

Oct. 23, 2012 at 9:29 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. and Iranian governments haven't agreed to meet bilaterally to discuss concerns over Iran's nuclear program, a top security official said.

A weekend column in The New York Times cited unnamed White House officials as saying an agreement was reached "in principle" to discuss the nuclear issue one-on-one with the Iranians after the Nov. 6 presidential election.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad had suggested his administration would consider the issue in the past, though White House officials strongly denied the claims made by the Times.

"It's not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

The Times' Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, in a column published late Monday, said the White House was "hair-splitting" but noted it was "unfortunate that there wasn't much information offered about the unidentified sources in this case."

Iran is suspected of pursuing the technology needed to manufacture a nuclear weapon. The White House has said "all options" are on the table to prevent Iran from doing so but stressed multilateralism was the best approach.

U.S. President Barack Obama said, during a debate Monday, that reports on direct talks "are not true."

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