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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Iran not to hold talks with U.S. in Munich conference

TEHRAN, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Iran would not hold talks with U.S. in Munich conference, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Sunday.

"Iranian delegation will not hold talks with any U.S. representative at the 45th Munich Security Conference slated to begin on Friday," the official IRNA news agency quoted Mottaki as saying.

The Munich gathering is an annual meeting of government officials, foreign and defense policy experts and journalists which is set for Feb. 6-8.

The Iranian delegation to the conference will include the Majlis (parliament) speaker, the foreign minister and a number of officials and "talks between Iran and the U.S. at Munich Security Conference is not on the agenda," said Mottaki.

He added that "resumption of relations with the U.S. under the new circumstances is of prime importance and we are now studying the change of attitude and U.S. policies to make our views known but we have no (immediate) plan to do so."

Also on Sunday, Iran's Intelligence Minster Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie denied any secret negotiations with the U.S.

"To date, there have been no official negotiations with the Americans ... and there would be no negotiations between Tehran and Washington unless the U.S. changes its aggressive policies towards the country," Mohseni-Ejeie stressed.

He made the denial following some claims that new U.S. President Barak Obama's top advisers and Iranian officials have over the past year met each other for several times.

In a recent interview with Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television, Obama said "if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us."

Observers said Iran's expectations of "change" would be viewed as the preconditions set for the new U.S. officials ahead of earnest, direct and vigorous diplomacy.

The United States severed its ties with Iran in 1980. Since then, Washington has been trying to beef up its sanctions against Tehran for allegedly developing secretly nuclear weapons and for being involved in anti-U.S. coalition forces activities.

Iran denied the charges and insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

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