Iran ready for talks with Washington: Khamenei aide

Iran is ready to discuss its nuclear programme with the United States, the adviser to the Islamic republic`s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today during a visit to Syria.

Updated: Aug 10, 2010, 00:10 AM IST

Damascus: Iran is ready to discuss its
nuclear programme with the United States, the adviser to the
Islamic republic`s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said
today during a visit to Syria.

"While we do not have any faith in the American
government... Iran is ready for talks on its nuclear
programme," Ali Akbar Velayati told reporters at a news
conference in the Iranian embassy in Damascus.

"Iran has reservations about the composition of the
5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security
Council and Germany) but remains committed to resolving the
problem through dialogue," he said.

Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
said he was ready for face-to-face talks with his US
counterpart Barack Obama on "global issues."

Yesterday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
said Washington remains "open to engagement" with Iran while
adding that Tehran had "to reassure the international
community by words and actions as to what their nuclear
program is intended for."

Iran atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi had said late
last month that Tehran was ready for immediate talks with the
United States, Russia and France over an exchange of nuclear
fuel, a plan that the world powers led by Washington had
previously cold-shouldered.

The Security Council backed a fourth round of UN
sanctions against Iran on June 9 in an effort to curb Iran`s
nuclear ambitions. The sanctions were followed by unilateral
punitive measures imposed by the United States and the
European Union.

Washington and other world powers suspect that Iran
is masking a weapons drive under the guise of a civilian
atomic programme. Tehran insists its nuclear programme has no
military aims.

PTI