Iran, U.S. Deny Plans for Bilateral Talks

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 21 2012 10:43 AM

Tehran and Washington Deny Plans for One-on-One Talks Over Iran's Nuclear Program

154115339
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi denied Tehran had reached an agreement to hold talks with Washington

Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP/GettyImages

Iran and the United States both denied the two countries reached an agreement to hold direct, one-on-one talks after the U.S. presidential election. The New York Times reported Saturday that the United States and Iran had “agreed in principle” to hold the first direct talks over Iran’s nuclear program, reporting that Tehran insisted a sit-down would have to wait until after the election.

The White House quickly said that while it is willing to hold direct negotiations with Tehran there has been no deal to hold the one-on-one talks after the election, reports the Associated Press. "It's not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said. On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi backed the White House, assuring journalists during a news conference that “we don’t have any discussions or negotiations with America.” He noted that talks with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, the so-called P5+1, continue, reports Reuters.

Coming in the final weeks of the campaign, and right as the presidential contenders get ready for a debate that will focus on foreign policy, the news could help President Obama portray his administration as close to a breakthrough on curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. At the same time, it could help Romney portray the White House as being all too willing to let Iran buy time with the prospect of future talks. Even if Obama is reelected there is no guarantee the talks would actually go through, notes the Times, pointing out that “Iran has a history of using the promise of diplomacy to ease international pressure on it.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.