Iran sees U.S. talks statement as positive

Feb. 4, 2013 at 11:04 AM
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MUNICH, Germany, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Tehran viewed statements by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden "positively" but was taking a wait-and-see approach.

Biden told the Munich Security Conference that Washington was ready to talk with Iran about its nuclear ambitions if Tehran is serious about multilateral negotiations.

"We have also made clear that Iran's leaders need not sentence their people to economic deprivation and international isolation," Biden was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying. "There is still space for diplomacy backed by pressure to succeed. The ball is in the government of Iran's court."

Iran said it was ready to meet with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, to discuss nuclear issues. Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency said there may be military dimensions to certain parts of Iran's nuclear program.

In late January, Tehran sparked concern when it said it was installing new centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear facility.

Salehi told state-funded broadcaster Press TV that Tehran saw Biden's outreach as a good sign.

"We looked at it positively. I think this is a good overture," he said. "But we will have to wait a little bit longer to see if their gesture is this time a real gesture ... so that we will be making our decisions likewise."

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