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Iran watching US policies in Afghanistan: foreign minister

Iran is monitoring US foreign policy in countries such as Afghanistan to see if improved ties under President Barack Obama might be possible, its foreign minister told Japanese media.

world Updated: Jan 31, 2009 13:59 IST

Iran is monitoring US foreign policy in countries such as Afghanistan to see if improved ties under President Barack Obama might be possible, its foreign minister told Japanese media.

Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran welcomed Obama's emphasis on dialogue but added that his government would need more detail on US intentions abroad before reviewing Tehran's relationship with Washington.

"Now we are studying what (are) the practical policies of the United States, towards Afghanistan, for example," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in an interview with Japan's public broadcaster NHK, aired on Saturday.

"What (are) they going to do? Is it a military-based approach?" asked Mottaki, who was in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.

Mottaki said Iran would negotiate on its nuclear programme under the correct circumstances, NHK reported, without showing the relevant footage.

The comments come after White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Thursday Obama preferred to use diplomacy in dealings with Iran and its controversial nuclear programme but kept "all his options" open.

Asked if the military option was still on the table, Gibbs said: "The president hasn't changed his viewpoint that he should preserve all his options."

In an interview on Monday with Al-Arabiya television, Obama said: "It is very important for us to make sure that we are using all the tools of US power, including diplomacy, in our relationship with Iran."

"As I said in my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us," the president said.

Senior diplomats from six world powers trying to convince Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions will gather next week in Germany for their first meeting since Obama took office on January 20, a German official said on Friday.

Political directors from the UN Security Council permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany will meet Wednesday near the western city of Frankfurt, German foreign ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner told a news conference.