NYT: United States, Iran agree to one-on-one nuclear talks

Deal is the result of years of back-channel negotiations between US, Iranian officials, talks will only begin after the US election, an Iranian demand, according to the 'NY Times.'

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
October 21, 2012 00:05
1 minute read.
Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor

Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor_150. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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The United States and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, the New York Times reported, citing Obama administration officials.

According to the report, the talks will take place some time after the November 6 US presidential election, as Iran insists on knowing who the American president will be at the time.

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The Times reported that the agreement was the culmination of years-long intense back-channel communications between Iranian and US officials.

The White House declined to comment on the Times report when contacted by Reuters.

The paper stated that while the announcement may enable US President Barack Obama to make a case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, it may also allow the Iranians to buy time to continue their nuclear progress.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat

In this respect, the Times warned that there is still a chance that the initiative could fall through, even in the event Obama is re-elected. Specifically, American officials told the paper they were uncertain whether Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had signed off on the deal, although the American understandings reportedly have been reached with senior Iranian officials who report to him.

The United States and other Western powers have charged that Iran's nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists the program is for peaceful purposes. Israel has said it would use military force to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has attacked Obama for failing to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions. The two candidates will meet on Monday in their final debate, which will focus on foreign policy.

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