Iran is now echoing the United States in denying the report that the two countries will hold direct talks over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
The New York Times reported Saturday that secret exchanges between U.S. and Iranian officials had yielded “in principle” an agreement to hold one-on-one talks for the first time. The White House quickly denied the report, with National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor calling it “not true.”
“We don’t have any discussions or negotiations with America,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said during a news conference Sunday, according to Reuters. “The (nuclear) talks are ongoing with the P5+1 group of nations. Other than that, we have no discussions with the United States.”
The P5+1 group is comprised of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — plus Germany. In his statement Saturday, Vietor also affirmed the only diplomatic solutions currently being pursued were through the P5+1, though added that the U.S. has “said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally.”
“The president has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that,” Vietor said.