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News number: 8711152059

20:21 | 2009-02-03

Foriegn Policy

نسخه چاپي ارسال به دوستان

Iranian Presidential Aide Denies Negotiations with US

TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Iranian Presidential Aide Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi here Tuesday dismissed media reports about his negotiations with the US officials.

"I have participated in no official or unofficial negotiations with Americans and nobody had an agenda for negotiations," Samareh Hashemi said.

He said that some research centers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) hold meetings without any agenda from their governments, and added, "Some meetings dubbed as 'Studying Iran and West Relations' were held this year and a number of Russian, Canadian, British, Dutch, Austrian and American experts participated in these meetings and presented their ideas, suggestions and analyses."

"The American participants were not representatives of the US administration and they took part in these meetings as university professors, experts, heads of research centers and so on," Samareh Hashemi went on saying.

The senior Iranian official continued, "Iranian officials have frequently announced that if the American side acts through a fair attitude based on mutual respect and recognizes the Iranian nation's rights, then negotiations will be possible."

Hashemi Samareh's remarks came as some media reports in recent days claimed that top Barack Obama advisers and Iranian officials have been negotiating over the past year.

Nuclear non-proliferation experts had several "very, very high-level" contacts in the last few months with Iranian leaders, said Jeffrey Boutwell, executive director for the US branch of the Pugwash group, an international organization of scientists which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.

Former defense secretary William Perry, who served in Obama's election campaign, participated in some of these meetings focused on "a wide range of issues that separate Iran from the West: not only their nuclear program but the Middle East peace process, Persian Gulf issues," Boutwell told AFP.

The Pugwash official declined to name the other participants, except to say they had considerable clout.

The United States and Iran broke diplomatic relations in April 1980, after Iranian students seized the United States' espionage center at its embassy in Tehran. The two countries have had tense relations ever since.