All options are on the table: Biden offers Iran direct talks, Iran calls it 'progress'
Now that the elections are over and President Obama has 'more flexibility' all options are on the table. Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday that the United States is ready to have direct talks with Iran
Speaking at a security conference in Munich, Biden said Iran - which
says it is enriching uranium for peaceful energy only - now faced "the
most robust sanctions in history" meant to ensure it does not use its
program to develop nuclear weapons.
"But we have also made clear that Iran's leaders need not sentence their
people to economic deprivation and international isolation," Biden
said. "There is still time, there is still space for diplomacy backed by
pressure to succeed. The ball is in the government of Iran's court."
To date, fitful talks on Iran's nuclear program have been between Tehran
and the EU's top diplomat representing six world powers including
Washington. But analysts have suggested that with his re-election behind
him, President Barack Obama might have more leeway to take on direct
negotiations with Iran.
Asked whether Washington might consider direct talks with Iran to
smooth the process, Biden said, "When the Iranian leadership, Supreme
Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei), is serious.
"We have made it
clear at the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally with
the Iranian leadership, we would not make it a secret that we were doing
that, we would let our partners know if that occasion presented itself.
But if Obama and Biden really want to talk to Iran, they're apparently going to have to beg
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said a suggestion on
Saturday by US Vice President Joe Biden that Washington was ready for
direct talks with Iran if Tehran was serious about negotiations was a
"We take these statements with positive
consideration. I think this is a step forward but ... each time we have
come and negotiated it was the other side unfortunately who did not heed
... its commitment," Salehi said at the Munich Security Conference
where Biden made his overture a day earlier.
He also complained to
Iran's English-language Press TV of "other contradictory signals",
pointing to the rhetoric of "keeping all options on the table" used by
US officials to indicate they are willing to use force to keep Iran from
obtaining a nuclear weapon.
"This does not go along with this
gesture (of talks) so we will have to wait a little bit longer and see
if they are really faithful this time," Salehi said.
offer stands, but it must be real and tangible and there has to be an
agenda that they are prepared to speak to. We are not just prepared to
do it for the exercise."
What could go wrong?
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Iranian nuclear threat, Israeli attack on Iran, Joe Biden, P 5+1, uranium enrichment