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US diplomats, academics call for unconditional talks with Iran

New York, Nov 15, IRNA - A panel of 20 experts who include academics and former ambassadors said in a joint statement to be presented to a conference on the future of US-Iran relations next week that US Administration must give Iran a "place at the table" in shaping future of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The panel, former US special envoy to Afghanistan James Dobbins, former US ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering, and a host of Middle East scholars from US universities, called for security assurances to Iran in the nuclear talks.

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US officials have floated the idea of opening a diplomatic interests section in Tehran.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week congratulated Obama on his election and called for "fundamental and fair" changes to US policies in the Middle East.

In their statement to be presented to the National Iranian American Council, which describes itself as a nonpartisan organization, the experts said an Obama administration needed to develop a new strategy to deal with Iran.

"Open the door to direct, unconditional and comprehensive negotiations at the senior diplomatic level where personal contacts can be developed, intentions tested, and possibilities explored on both sides," they said.

... Payvand News - 11/15/08 ... --

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