Iran denies report of secret talks with Israel

Iran on Wednesday categorically denied a report that it was holding clandestine talks in Europe to settle an old Israeli debt. The report is "unfounded and totally false," Iran's mission to the United Nations in Geneva said in a faxed statement. The statement accused the Israeli daily Haaretz, which published the report, of "quoting fictitious sources" to divert attention away from alleged atrocities committed by Israel's government. Haaretz reported Wednesday that Iran is still owed hundreds of millions of dollars for oil it supplied to Israel in the years before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and representatives of the two countries, now sworn enemies, are holding contacts meant to settle the debt.