Official request needed for opening U.S. outpost in Tehran: Mottaki

July 21, 2008

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki on Sunday said Tehran will only consider official requests for establishing a diplomatic outpost in Iran.

London’s Guardian newspaper said on Thursday the United States will announce in the next month plans to establish a diplomatic office in Iran for the first time in 30 years.
The administration of President George W. Bush plans to establish an interests section staffed with diplomats similar to its outpost in Cuba, the newspaper said without identifying any sources.
“The U.S. has expressed interest in this matter…only through media and informed officials. But we have not received any official request from them,” Mottaki told reporters after Sunday’s cabinet session.
Iran and the United States severed relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Currently the Swiss embassy in Tehran looks after U.S. interests in the absence of an American mission.
“Our stance in this regard is clear. When I was in New York the media raised this issue…I told them that Iran had earlier proposed starting direct flights to the U.S. and that the two proposals can be studied by the two governments,” Mottaki stated.
He also said Iranian and EU nuclear diplomats will hold fresh talks on Iran’s atomic issue in two weeks.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) secretary Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana held talks in Geneva on Saturday over ending Iran’s long-running nuclear standoff with the West.
U.S. senior diplomat Williams Burns for the first time attended the talks which marked the highest-ranking meeting between the two foes in three decades.
The presence of U.S. top diplomat provided a “good opportunity” to the White House leaders to “directly listen to Iran’s viewpoints,” Mottaki opined.
Iran regards Burns’ presence in the talks as “positive” in principle and hopes that it will also have a “positive effect on the outcome of negotiations,” he added.
Also present were representatives from the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
China, Russia, Britain, the United States, France and Germany last month presented Iran with a revised package of incentives in return for a halt in Tehran’s uranium enrichment activities.
The package which is a follow-up of an original proposal in 2006, offers nuclear cooperation and wider trade in aircraft, energy, high technology, and agriculture.
Iran has also presented its own package of proposals on resolving international challenges including the threat of nuclear proliferation and has said it has found common ground between the two separate packages.
Senior Iranian officials have repeatedly rejected calls for a halt in Tehran’s uranium enrichment work and have expressed readiness to talk “only on common points”.
“Solana, during his trip to Iran last month, put forward the draft of a new modality plan and the framework of negotiations. We studied the modality plan and in return offered our own modality on ways to continue talks between Iran and the 5+1,” Mottaki stated