Iran ready to engage in high-level talks with U.S.

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Iran is ready to engage in high-level talks with the United States, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in comments published Thursday by official news agency IRNA.

“A meeting is not an end in itself, nor is it ruled out... President [Hassan] Rowhani has no problem in principle” with meeting U.S. President Barack Obama, he said, in comments carried by Agence France-Presse.

“It would have been a good beginning,” Zarif added, referring to speculation that such a meeting was supposed to take place this week in New York. However, it did not.

“President Rowhani has always said he is prepared to do whatever is in the national interest,” the minister added.

Zarif said of the proposed Rowhani-Obama encounter that “the American government expressed its wish, on the eve of the U.N. General Assembly, for such a meeting” but “there was not enough time to arrange it,” in comments carried by Reuters.

Washington and Tehran have not had diplomatic relations since 1980, a year after the Islamic revolution in Iran toppled the U.S.-backed shah.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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