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US to seek 'early' talks with Iran

The Obama administration has said it would seek early talks with Iran but insisted that the nuclear issue would be the "central part" of the parleys, notwithstanding Tehran's assertion that it would not negotiate over the future of its controversial atomic programme.

world Updated: Sep 12, 2009 12:04 IST

The Obama administration has said it would seek early talks with Iran but insisted that the nuclear issue would be the "central part" of the parleys, notwithstanding Tehran's assertion that it would not negotiate over the future of its controversial atomic programme.

"We will seek an early meeting and we will seek to test Iran's willingness to engage," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, PJ Crowley, told a press conference in Washington, more than a week after Tehran announced that it was ready to hold talks with the world powers.

The US-Iran talks could take place even before the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York later this month.

"We are seeking a meeting because, ultimately, the only way that we feel we are going to be able to resolve these issues are to have a meeting. But it is not just a meeting for meeting's sake. It is a meeting to be able to see if Iran is willing to engage seriously on these issues," Crowley said.

"Clearly, from the standpoint of the international community, the central issue that we have is the nuclear issue," he said.

America's objective is clear, Crowley said, adding that it is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Crowley said the meeting with Iran, along with representatives from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, would be at the Political Director level and efforts are being made to hold the meeting as soon as possible.