Ex-diplomat: Iran’s president okayed to enter direct talks with U.S.

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has given the green light for President Hassan Rowhani to engage in direct talks with the United States, Hossein Mousavian, former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators, wrote in an opinion published by the Jordan Times on Monday.

Mousavian was discussing how a U.S. attack on Syria would have delayed the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

“Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued permission for President Hassan Rowhani’s new administration to enter into direct talks with the U.S. No better opportunity to end decades of bilateral hostility is likely to come along,” Mousavian wrote.

“In these circumstances, a U.S. attack on Syria would almost certainly dash any hope of a U.S.-Iran rapprochement for years to come,” he added.

In a recent interview on ABC news, Obama said “negotiations with the Iranians are always difficult.”

“I think this new president is not going to suddenly make it easy. But you know my view is that if you have both a credible threat of force, combined with a rigorous diplomatic effort, that, in fact you can you can strike a deal… and I hold out that hope,” Obama added.

Iran released a statement on Monday pledging to cooperate with the West to settle the dispute over its nuclear program. The IAEA has held 10 rounds of talks with Iran since 2012.

“I have come here with a message of my newly elected president to further enhance and expand our ongoing cooperation with the agency," New Iranian atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi said at the IAEA conference recently, according to Reuters.

However he stressed that Iran would never compromise over what it sees as its right to a civilian nuclear energy program. Iran said it is enriching uranium only for civilian energy and medicine.

No date has yet been set for a resumption of Iran's talks with the powers, but the issue may be debated at U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York according to Reuters.

(With Reuters)

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