MUNICH - The United States is ready to hold direct talks with Iran if it is serious about negotiations, Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday, backing bilateral contacts that many see as crucial to easing an international dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.
Speaking at a security conference in Munich, Biden said Iran - which says it is enriching uranium for peaceful energy only - now faced "the most robust sanctions in history" meant to ensure it does not use its program to develop nuclear weapons.
"But we have also made clear that Iran's leaders need not sentence their people to economic deprivation and international isolation," Biden said. "There is still time, there is still space for diplomacy backed by pressure to succeed. The ball is in the government of Iran's court."