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Biden: US Willing to Talk to Iran

  • VOA News

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says the United States is willing to talk to Iran about its nuclear program but stresses Tehran faces isolation and pressure if it stays on its current path.

Biden spoke today (Saturday) at a security conference in Munich. He said there will be "meaningful incentives" if Iran abandons what he called its "illicit nuclear program and support for terrorism."

But he says the United States will continue to develop missile defenses to, in his words, "counter a growing Iranian capability."

Biden's offer to engage in talks with Iran marks a change from the Bush administration, which refused to deal with Tehran in direct negotiations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the U.N. Security Council must be prepared to enforce tougher sanctions on Iran.

She says Iran must be prevented from developing nuclear weapons.

The Security Council has already enforced three sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium, a process that can be used to make atomic weapons.

At the Munich conference on Friday, Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani criticized past U.S. policy. But he said the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama could rebuild bridges that have been destroyed between the United States and Iran.

Iran and the United States cut all diplomatic ties during the hostage crisis that followed the 1979 Islamic Revolution and seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of working to produce nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.

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