May 8, 2006 -- Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani says the letter Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sent U.S. President George W. Bush could provide a "new diplomatic opening" in the nuclear crisis.
Larijani gave no clue to the contents of the letter, but he said in Ankara today that it does not represent a softening in Iran's position, namely that Iran has a right to develop a peaceful civil nuclear program.
Reports say the letter suggests "new ways" of defusing the crisis. The White House says it has not yet received the message, and cannot comment.
But U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte said today the message may have been timed to influence the ongoing deliberations at the UN Security Council.
Envoys of the Security Council's five permanent members today held another round of inconclusive talks on a draft resolution designed to legally bind Iran to stop uranium enrichment.
China called for the threat of sanctions or military action to be deleted from the draft.
The United States and its European allies see that threat as necessary to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons.
(Compiled from agency reports.)
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