Spokesman: Iran ready to negotiate with U.S.

2008-07-15 18:59:47 GMT       2008-07-16 02:59:47 (Beijing Time)       xinhuanet

TEHRAN, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Iran's government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said on Tuesday that Tehran is ready to hold talks with other countries, including the United States, Iran's satellite Press TV reported.

"Iran, as a influential power, is ready to hold talks with other countries," Elham was quoted as saying, "but this willingness should not be interpreted as a need or a form of passivity."

He also pointed out that direct talks with Washington could only take place when the time is right.

The two countries severed diplomatic ties in 1979 when the Islamic revolution took place in Iran.

"The time for unilateral talks and pressure has ended. You can not talk to a great power like Iran using that kind of language," Elham added.

Elham's comments came after recent reports that the United States is willing to open an interest section in Tehran for issuing visas and carrying out cultural activities.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said recently in New York that Tehran will consider the plan if the United States presents the proposal officially.

On Sunday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he was ready to talk with U.S. President George W. Bush directly.

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