TEHRAN – Iran has welcomed the United States’ willingness to hold direct talks with Tehran over the country’s nuclear program but says that the Islamic Republic must be assured the U.S. is acting in good faith.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at this year’s Munich Security Conference on Saturday, said that the U.S. is prepared to hold one-on-one talks with Iran.
“We have made it clear at the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally with the Iranian leadership,” Biden stated.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, speaking on the sidelines of the Munich conference, told Euronews, “This negotiation can only take place when we get enough assurances that, this time, the U.S. comes forward with honest intentions. Because our previous experiences, unfortunately, have shown the opposite.”
On Sunday, the Iranian foreign minister told participants of the Munich conference that Iran views the recent U.S. statements “with positive consideration” and added that Tehran must be sure the U.S. has “a fair and real intention to resolve the issue.”
Iran has held several rounds of nuclear talks with the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) to resolve the issues the six major powers have raised over the country’s nuclear program.
Salehi also said that the next round of talks with the 5+1 group will be held on February 25 in Kazakhstan.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program.
But Iran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and thus has the right to enrich uranium to produce fuel.
In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.
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