Iran denies report of direct nuclear talks with U.S.

(JTA) — Iran denied a New York Times report that it has agreed to direct talks with the United States over its nuclear program.

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Iran issued the denial on Sunday, a day after the United States National Security Council also denied the report in Saturday’s New York Times.

The newspaper cited unnamed senior Obama administration officials as saying that the United States and Iran have agreed in principle to one-on-one negotiations, which reportedly would not take place until after the presidential election in November.  

Iran has this year been negotiating with the P5+1, comprised of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – as well as Germany. The talks have not led to any agreements.  

The New York Times reported that the agreement was reached after secret negotiations that began in the early months of Obama’s presidency.
Michael Oren, Israeli ambassador to the United States, told the newspaper that the Obama administration had not informed his country about the diplomatic initiative.

“We do not think Iran should be rewarded with direct talks. Rather that sanctions and all other possible pressures on Iran must be increased,” Oren told the newspaper.
Israel has called for the United States and other countries to take military action against Iran before it achieves a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. 

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