Obama administration: No ‘direct talks’ letter to Iran

JTA

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration said an Iranian lawmaker had mischaracterized its letter warning against blocking the Strait of Iran and reiterating its commitment to dialogue.

Ali Mothari, was quoted by The Associated Press Wednesday as saying that “In the letter, Obama called for direct talks with Iran.”

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The AP said Motahari described the first part of the letter as warning of retaliation if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s oil supply passes, and that the second part proposes dialogue.

There have already been reports that the United States wrned Iran against shutting down the Strait of Hormuz.

Yahoo News on Wednesday quoted White House officials as saying that what had been conveyed was a “standard diplomatic message,” which included routine language seeking a diplomatic resolution of tensions with Iran.

Separately, a senior administration official on Wednesday told Israeli and Jewish media that the Obama administration routinely communicated to Iran, through third parties, its willingness to resume talks on making more transparent its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Iran’s agreement to such an offer was not forthcoming, the official said, adding that even if Iran were to join talks, this would not mitigate the intensified sanctions the Obama administration has initiated in recent weeks.