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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Iran Parliament mulls U.S. calls for talks

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has said the country's lawmakers have not rejected a request for talks from the U.S. Congress.

"We have received a polite letter from the U.S. Congress on parliamentary negotiations between the two countries," Larijani said in a Saturday interview with Farsnews.

"We are studying the letter. We have not rejected it, but we have not given a positive response either," he added.

In an October visit to the United States, an Iranian parliamentary delegation reportedly received a request for talks from a group of U.S. lawmakers.

The Iranian MPs were in Washington to take part in the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They received the letter from a lawmaker during an unofficial tour of the U.S. Capitol.

Larijani explained that a decision had been taken to postpone the response until after the U.S. elections on November 4, and that this was the reason for the delay in deliberating the letter.

Iranian lawmakers received a similar unofficial request for negotiations from 60 congressional representatives last year. However, most political analysts reject the suggestion that the letters are a sign of change in US policy towards Iran.

In 2006, the U.S. Congress launched a plan to 'promote democracy' in Iran and allocated $75-million for the program, but the move is seen by many Iranians as a part of a wider plan to enforce regime change in the country.

Mohammad-Javad Zarif, the former Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, said recently that Washington is conspiring to foment discord among Iranians in order to topple the Tehran government.

Washington severed diplomatic ties with Tehran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The revolution ended the rule of a U.S.-allied dictator in the country.

Since then the United States has passed several rounds of sanctions against Iran, particularly in recent years over the country's legal nuclear activities.

U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, however, has vowed to try and resolve the nuclear dispute by engaging in direct talks with Iranian leaders.
Source: Press TV

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