White House: Iran still has path to end nuclear dispute

January 19, 2012 04:20


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WASHINGTON - 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.

White House 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.

"If 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."

Carney 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.

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