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 constructive.
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 peaceful intent.
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.