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Kerry says no link between Iran nuke talks, other Mideast issues

US secretary of state reiterates that nuclear negotiations are not tied to any other events at stake in the region.

November 8, 2014 11:36
1 minute read.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry. (photo credit: REUTERS)

BEIJING - US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday that there was no link between talks on Iran's nuclear program and other issues in the Middle East.

The United States has already rejected a proposal floated by Iranian officials in which Tehran would cooperate in the fight against Islamic State forces in exchange for flexibility on its nuclear program.

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"No conversation, no agreement, no exchange, nothing, has created any kind of deal or agreement with respect to any of the events that are at stake in the Middle East," Kerry told reporters in Beijing.

"There is no linkage whatsoever of the nuclear discussions with any other issue, and I want to make that absolutely clear. The nuclear negotiations are on their own."

Kerry declined to comment on reports that US President Barack Obama has sent a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamanei, about combating the Islamic State group.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Obama sent a letter to the Iranian leader last month describing their shared interests regarding Islamic State.

Kerry is to meet Iran's foreign minister in Muscat, Oman on Sunday, ahead of a November 24 deadline for a comprehensive nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.

The new US Senate, in which opposition Republicans will have a majority following midterm elections on Tuesday, is likely to be skeptical of any Obama deal with Iran. The US President and Kerry are keen to avoid the impression they are making trade-offs as part of the nuclear deal

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