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Obama eyes pre-election talks with Iran

Press TV - A former US official says President Barack Obama is seriously exploring ways to bring Tehran to the negotiating table before the Iranian elections take place.

In a Saturday interview with Iran's Arab-language 'al-Alam' news network, former assistant secretary of state, Richard Murphy, gave tidings of US plans for a sit-down with Iranian officials in the coming weeks.

"President Obama has announced that he would rather engage Iran in direct negotiations before the presidential elections," said Murphy, only a day after Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Iran-US talks would not be held before the June 12 polls. "We said we will have no talks before the election. They were insisting to hold negotiations before the election," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a news conference on Saturday in response to a question posed by Press TV.

The Iranian President cast doubts on Washington's willingness to hold talks with Tehran with mutual respect. "They called several times ... and US President Barack Obama finally accepted and said: 'Ok, let's do it after the election'," he said.

Obama has promised a policy change toward Iran, saying Washington plans to engage Tehran and seek its help on a whole range of international issue.

Nevertheless, it has continued to pursue a double-edged policy towards the country to end its low-level uranium enrichment.

Washington, Israel and a slew of European powers accuse Iran of nuclear weapons development -- an allegation dismissed by Tehran.

Iran says it favors talks over its nuclear work, but has called for logical negotiations without any preconditions.

Former National Security Council officials, Flynt Leverett and wife, Hillary Mann, wrote in the New York times on Sunday that the Obama administration has not taken practical steps to achieve his professed claims of a "new beginning" with Iran.

"The administration's approach to Iran degenerates into an only slightly prettified version of George W. Bush's approach - that is, an effort to contain a perceived Iranian threat without actually trying to resolve underlying political conflicts," they said.

... Payvand News - 05/24/09 ... --

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