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News number: 8712220589

18:51 | 2009-03-12

Politics

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Official: US Message Handed to Iran by Gul

TEHRAN (FNA)- US Ambassador to Ankara James Jeffery alleged on Thursday that Turkey's president had conveyed to Iranian leaders the message that Washington was sincere in the changed approach toward Tehran.



President Abdullah Gul conveyed to Tehran a message that Washington is "serious on talking about issues like Afghanistan and Iraq," Jeffrey told in an interview with Radikal daily, adding that his country wanted to extend its hand to countries like Iran and Syria.

President Abdullah Gul met Wednesday his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, where he came to attend the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit.

"We will consider with utmost care all the information that comes from the Turkish government," US Ambassador noted.

"The US could gradually establish diplomatic relations with Iran if Tehran takes positive steps regarding its nuclear program, aggressive rhetoric against Israel," the message also said.

Iran had earlier dismissed reports about the message while the Turkish president has also never confirmed his liaison role although he has several times reiterated his country's willingness to act as a mediator between the two arch foes.

But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad passed up the offer by Turkey to act as a mediator between the new Obama administration and Iran.

"There is no need for mediation," Ahmadinejad said after talks in Tehran with leaders of member countries of the regional Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

"Our stances are clear: if there is justice and respect no issue would remain in the world,"

The Obama administration has decided to open the door to the possibility of direct engagement with Tehran. The United States has said it intended to invite Iran to an international meeting later this month to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, which is struggling with insurgency.