White House denies US, Iran agreed to 1-on-1 talks

US says 'New York Times' report "not true;" VP Yaalon says Israel would support direct talks to halt Iranian nuclear program.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
October 21, 2012 12:04
2 minute read.
US President Obama at White House Rose Garden

US President Obama speaks in White House Rose Garden 370. (photo credit: Yuri Gripas / Reuters)

The White House on Saturday denied a

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.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren also responded to the report, saying that the Obama administration had not informed Israel of such an agreement,and that the the Israel government feared Iran would use new talks to "advance their nuclear weapons program," the Times reported.

"We do not think Iran should be rewarded with direct talks,” Oren said, “rather that sanctions and all other possible pressures on Iran must be increased.”

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.

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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