Iran warming to talks with West

Nov. 9, 2012 at 12:30 PM
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TEHRAN, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tehran would consider talks with the United States if negotiations were conducted with an air of respect.

An October report in The New York Times, which cited unnamed White House officials, said an agreement was reached "in principle" to discuss the nuclear issue one-on-one with the Iranians after the presidential election in the United States.

Ahmadinejad had suggested his administration would consider the issue in the past, though White House officials strongly denied the Times' report.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in response to possible talks after the elections that his government believes "in friendly relations between peoples and governments and Iran hails all relations based on justice and mutual respect."

His comments came as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said it was time for Iran and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- along with Germany, to return to negotiations to discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran is suspected of pursing a nuclear weapons program, an allegation the government denies. Ahmadinejad this week said Tehran was in favor of a region free of weapons of mass destruction.

The nuclear rhetoric comes as Iran confirmed Friday that it fired on "an unidentified plane" that it said strayed into its airspace last week.

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