Israeli, Iranian reps talk directly

Oct. 22, 2009 at 8:58 AM
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JERUSALEM, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Israeli and Iranian representatives spoke directly to each other for the first time in 30 years during a nuclear summit in Cairo, media reports Thursday said.

Meirav Zafary-Odiz, director of policy and arms control at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, and Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's representative to the International Atomic Energy Commission met several times in September while attending the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, Haaretz reported.

The panel discussions between the two were the first direct meetings between official representatives of Iran and Israel since 1979.

While confirming the meetings occurred, the Israel Atomic Energy Commission did not comment on their content.

The exchanges between the Iranian and Israeli representatives occurred during panel sessions on declaring the Middle East a nuclear-free zone, preventing nuclear proliferation in the region and using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, sources told Haaretz. The two did not meet or shake hands outside of the panel sessions.

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