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Urquhart reports: "The United States is prepared to hold direct talks with Iran amid the standoff over its nuclear ambitions, the US vice-president, Joe Biden, has said."

Vice President Joe Biden. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Vice President Joe Biden. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Biden: US Prepared to Talk With Iran

By Conal Urquhart, Guardian UK

02 February 13


Vice-president tells Munich conference that US can talk to Tehran over alleged nuclear programme if Iran gets serious

he United States is prepared to hold direct talks with Iran amid the standoff over its nuclear ambitions, the US vice-president, Joe Biden, has said.

Speaking at the Munich security conference on Saturday, Biden said: "There is still time, there is still space for diplomacy backed by pressure to succeed."

He insisted that "the ball is in the government of Iran's court" to show that it is negotiating in good faith.

Asked when Washington would hold direct talks with Tehran, Biden replied: "When the Iranian leadership, the supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], is serious."

Last month, Iran announced plans to dramatically increase its pace of uranium enrichment, which can be used to make both reactor fuel and the fissile core of warheads.

Iran insists it does not want nuclear arms and argues it has a right to enrich uranium for a civilian nuclear power programme, but suspicions persist that the real aim is to develop nuclear weapons. The country's nuclear programme remained secret until it was exposed more than a decade ago.

Iran also unveiled its latest combat jet on Saturday, a domestically manufactured fighter-bomber that military officials claim can evade radar. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a ceremony broadcast on state TV that building the Qaher-313, or Dominant-313, highlights Iran's will to "conquer scientific peaks".

The Qaher is one of several aircraft designs produced by the Iranian military since 2007. The Islamic republic launched a self-sufficiency military programme in the 1980s to compensate for a western weapons embargo that banned the export of military technology and equipment to Iran. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, missiles, torpedoes, drones and fighter planes.

Russia and the US have moved closer to agreeing a strategy over Iran's nuclear programme, butthe two countries remain dividied as to how to tackle the crisis in Syria.

Biden told the conference: "President Assad, a tyrant hellbent on clinging to power, is no longer fit to lead the Syrian people and he must go."

The Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, branded Biden's statement as counterproductive. "The persistence of those who say that priority number one is the removal of President Assad, I think it's the single biggest reason for the continued tragedy in Syria." your social media marketing partner


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-20 # EPGAH3 2013-02-02 21:56
We'll waste so much time talking that Iran will build their nukes and laugh at our passivity!
+10 # Ralph Averill 2013-02-03 04:17
Quoting EPGAH3:
We'll waste so much time talking that Iran will build their nukes and laugh at our passivity!

Your proposal, we assume, is the invasion of Iran? Paid for by whose blood and treasure?
+13 # rosross 2013-02-03 00:39
Iran has no weapons but given the aggression of the US and Israel one can understand why they might want them.
All of this talk of Iran as a threat is Israeli propaganda. Iran has attacked no-one for more than 100 years - Israel has done nothing but attack for all of its existence and the US has waged countless immoral, illegal and unnecessary wars in the past half a century.
+4 # Doubter 2013-02-03 13:15
I gave you a plus but:

It seems Iran has enough defensive weapons to cause Israel & the US to think twice before going after it. Hopefully, it is no sitting duck.
+11 # X Dane 2013-02-03 01:44
As some smart person said you don't need to talk to your friends, but you SHOULD talk to your adversaries. And that sure is not a sign of weakness.

If it doesn't work out, too bad, but we will have done our best, and that is what we certainly should do, bearing in mind that the Iranians are proud people, and humiliating them, is not the way to go. Treat others the way YOU want to be treated, is a Universal truth.
+4 # Ralph Averill 2013-02-03 04:29
A wedge needs to be driven between the Iranian people and those who run the government. I think the Iranians are weary of the sanctions and weary of being a pariah state. Any preemptive military action is absolutely the wrong thing to do. It would unify the Iranians behind the government. It would make Iraq look like a Sunday picnic.
+2 # abdullahiedward 2013-02-04 01:36
Dear Ralph, get your head out of the FOX/CNN propaganda machine. The present Iranian government was democratically elected by nearly a 2/3 majority of the vote. The vote had a much higher percentage of voter turnout than any previous American presidential election in recent memory. In other words, he Iranian people run the government!
+6 # reiverpacific 2013-02-03 11:39
Can you imagine Paul Ryan proposing this? He and Twit would even now have been puffin' their chests out, fabricating more lies, beatin' the war drums and howling "You're either with us or against us"!
Just pointing a li'l ol' factoid out.
+9 # MidwestTom 2013-02-03 13:38
What has Iran done to the United States?
+1 # Active Voice 2013-02-03 16:04
Has it ever occurred to anyone that if the U.S. and other countries stopped using and promoting nuclear as an energy source, countries like Iran would not be able to hide weapons-develop ment programs behind the excuse that they were developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes? Not to mention the benefits of getting nuclear power, with all of its inherent short- and long-term risks and dangers, out of our energy portfolio...

Just a thought.
+3 # abdullahiedward 2013-02-03 16:26
You mentioned, in passing, that "Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, missiles, torpedoes, drones and fighter planes." You, and most others who think like you, don't ever seem to get the point about a country wanting to be independent. Back in the days when Iran was a colony of American and was considered "good Iran" because it was being run by the American puppet, the Shah, all the items you mentioned were bought and paid for from America. Now, not only have the Americans lost the Iranian market for these items, which in a capitalist system such as exists in America, is reason enough not to like an independent Iran, but also, the independence of capability is a threat to those who want to dominate the region. And guess who that is?
Finally, I would like to offer your readers a simple comparison of the protagonists in this little drama. On the one hand we have the ubiquitous Joe Biden. A product of more than 30 years of participation in the American political system, and we all know how clean that is. And on the other hand we have the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a product of an equal amount of time spent studying the Holy Quran in order to tune his mind to not only living an exemplary life but also positioning himself to make major decision based on the teaching of his religions Holy Book rather than on political expediency. I have a different idea about who needs to be "serious" in this debate.
+5 # ganymede 2013-02-03 16:34
Good ole Joe. When the lefties talk about the Dems and Rethugs being the same bunch of warmongering idiots, it's a good idea to remind them that if Romney had been elected we would have instantly given the Israeli extremists the green light to bomb Iran which would have made Iraq seem like a minor event. America has been beating up on the world big time since WWII, but at least the Dems can make gestures like Biden is doing to avoid yet another American disaster.
0 # Activista 2013-02-04 13:41
The same old crap: "Biden told the conference: "President Assad, a tyrant hellbent on clinging to power, is no longer fit to lead the Syrian people and he must go."
Syria war is US/Israel/Arabs war on Iran .. and as somebody mentioned Iran people these war agents masquerading as journalist should check what portion of population supports the present governments in Syria and Iran - MORE than majority.
Iran does not have military nuclear program ... but there are US nuclear navy and Israel German Made submarines with nuclear warheads in Persian Gulf.
And what terrorist state is KILLING Iranian scientists?
Israel was behind Iranian scientist's death, Time reports | JTA ... 15, 2012 – Israel's Mossad intelligence agency assassinated an Iranian scientist in a bomb attack ... same pattern/techniq ue of terrorism as in Lebanon, Syria, Norway ....

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