Iran's foreign minister won't visit D.C.

Oct. 1, 2013 at 11:13 AM
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TEHRAN, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said there are no plans to travel to Washington during his U.S. visit, an envoy said Tuesday.

Zarif is still working the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting this week. He met last week with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss possible negotiations over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

An Iranian official traveling with the minister told the semiofficial Fars News Agency on condition of anonymity there were no plans for a trip to Washington.

"Such a trip is not on Zarif's agenda," he said.

Zarif, the official said, has plans to visit several U.S. universities, including Harvard, during his stay in the United States.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, exchanged letters over the nuclear impasse. Obama said he'd respect Iran's right to peaceful nuclear research in exchange for assurances the program would never be used for a nuclear weapon.

Zarif's spokeswoman, Marziyeh Afkham, said during her regular press conference Tuesday the Iranian government was calling on the United States to take a balanced approach to the nuclear row.

"We still expect U.S. officials to base their behavior towards the Islamic Republic of Iran on pragmatic policies and show respect in their behavior towards the Iranian nation," she was quoted by Fars as saying.

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