US: Iran still has path to end nuclear dispute
LAST UPDATED: 01/19/2012 07:18
Iran should engage major powers in discussions about its nuclear work, respond to Ashton's letter on talks, White House says.
The White House Photo: Thinkstock/Imagebank
Iran still has a peaceful way out of the growing confrontation over
its nuclear program, the White House said on Wednesday, but a spokesman
would not confirm reports that US President Barack Obama wrote to
Iranian leaders expressing a readiness to talk.
spokesman Jay Carney said Iran should engage major powers in discussions
about its nuclear work, which the United States and many other
countries say is intended to build a nuclear weapon, as European Union
foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton outlined in a letter in October.
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the Iranians are serious about restarting talks, then they need to
respond to that letter," Carney told a White House briefing. "That is
the channel by which...the restarting of those talks would take place."
declined to confirm reports from Tehran that Obama had sent Iranian
leaders a new letter about talks, but did not deny a letter had been
sent. Direct communications between the US and Iranian governments,
which have no diplomatic ties, are rare.
Obama rejected criticism from Republican presidential candidates over his foreign policy vis a vis Iran, saying he would take "every step available" in
order to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, AFP quoted the
president as saying on Wednesday in an interview to Time magazine.
said that he could not "guarantee" that Iran would cease its nuclear
ambitions by its own accord, saying that the US has not taken "any
options off the table in preventing them from getting a nuclear weapon."
US president was responding to criticism by Republican presidential
candidates in a Monday debate in South Carolina who questioned his foreign policy. He claimed those
lawmakers were seeking to win over the local Republicans by attacking
the president's handling of global issues.
Obama insisted that the US was in a stronger position than it was when he was elected in 2008, according to AFP.