U.S. officials say the United States will carefully and seriously
consider an Iranian proposal for new talks with world powers on its
controversial nuclear program.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki formally handed over the
Iranian proposal Wednesday to diplomats of the P-Five-Plus-One member
countries (the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain plus Germany) and the European Union in Tehran.
The contents of the Iranian note were not disclosed, but Iranian state
radio said Tehran is ready to help ease international concerns about
its nuclear program.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice expressed hope
Wednesday that the Iranian response to international concerns was
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said political directors of the
P-Five-Plus-One grouping planned a telephone conference call on the
Iranian offer late Wednesday.
The State Department spokesman reiterated the Obama administration's
readiness for direct engagement with Iran after a diplomatic break of
30 years but said the choice is up to the Tehran government.
The United States and European allies believe that Iran's uranium
enrichment drive is weapons-related despite Tehran's assertions of
Earlier this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran
continues to reject any halt to its uranium-enrichment program and was
proposing negotiations over a range of global issues.
The Obama administration has indicated Iran will face harsher
international sanctions, possibly targeting critical imports of refined
petroleum products, if it does not accept good-faith negotiations by
the end of this month.
U.S. envoy Glyn Davies told the International Atomic Energy Agency's board Wednesday (in Vienna)
that Iran may already have accumulated enough enriched uranium to
produce one nuclear weapon. He joined European IAEA envoys in calling
for Iran to show genuine commitment to peace and security.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei says the U.N. nuclear
regulatory agency has "serious concerns" but is not in a "state of
panic" because inspectors have not seen diversion of nuclear material
or components of nuclear weapons.