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Iranian, U.S. Officials Meet in Geneva

May 11, 2003|From Reuters

JERUSALEM — U.S. and Iranian officials met face to face in Geneva "very recently" to talk about Iran's neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan, where the United States has a military presence, a U.S. official said Saturday.

The meeting took place with the help of the United Nations but only the U.S. and Iranian officials were present, he said.

Iran and the United States have met previously in the context of multilateral talks with Afghanistan's neighbors and Russia.

The U.S. official, who asked not to be identified, said the aim of the contacts was to discuss specific issues, not to establish diplomatic relations or initiate an open-agenda dialogue.

"We do have channels that we are using with the Iranians and communicating to them that they ought to review their policies in light of the changed strategic situation, with particular emphasis on their nuclear weapons development program," he said.

The United States cut diplomatic ties with Iran after radical students seized its embassy in Tehran in 1979 following the Islamic Revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah.

The Bush administration has shifted its rhetoric on Iran several times since taking office in January 2001.

At first it sought dialogue, but after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks President Bush branded Iran part of the "axis of evil," along with Iraq and North Korea.

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