/ languages

Choisir langue


Minister, negotiator welcome new US stance

Article published on the 2008-07-18 Latest update 2008-07-19 12:44 TU

Manouchehr Mottaki in Ankara(Photo: Reuters)

Manouchehr Mottaki in Ankara
(Photo: Reuters)

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Friday that his country is open to discussion with the US regarding the establishment of a so-called "US interests section" in the country. He also welcomed proposed US participation in nuclear talks this weekend, a move which Tehran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili said would make talks constructive.

"In my opinion, talks and a deal on an American bureau in Iran and direct flights between Iran and the United States is possible," Mottaki, who is on a visit to Turkey, told reporters.

The possibility that Washington may set up a semi-official representation in Tehran, 30 years after its embassy there was closed, was reported in the London Guardian yesterday, although the paper did not name its sources.

Mottaki said that many Americans want to visit his country and claimed that several US companies are already operating in Iran, although he refused to identify them "because of the delicacy of the issue".

The report came after Washington announced that US Under-Secretary of State William Burns will sit in on talks between Iran and six world powers on Tehran's nuclear programme.

"If the negotiations continue in this way, I hope there will be a positive outcome," he said.

Iran's chief negotiator in those talks, Saeed Jalili, who also heads the Supreme National Security Council, also welcomed the move.

"If it is with a constructive approach, and that they refrain from past mistakes, then for sure we will have constructive talks," he said before leaving for Geneva where the talks take place.

“In Iran, people consider all this sort of indirect acknowledgement evidence of the United States’ failure in its attempts to make Iran suspend enrichment." said Hamid Najaffi, editor at the Kayhan International newspaper in Iran. "[But] people generally also welcome this type of development, because we’re always talking about war."

But he cautioned against premature optimism in the diplomatic thaw between the two countries, saying that with "any type of offer or package, Iran has so far never outright rejected such offers. They always accept and then say ‘we will study this and then we will proceed after due studies.’”