Biden: U.S. Open To Direct Talks With Iran

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 2 2013 1:38 PM

Biden: U.S. Is Willing To Hold Direct Talks With Iran

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Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech during day two of the 49th Munich Security Conference

Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images

The United States is ready and willing to hold direct negotiations with Iran, Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday, emphasizing that such talks will only take place if Tehran is “serious” because “we are not just prepared to do it for the exercise,” reports the Washington Post. In a security conference in Munich, Biden said that Iran is facing "the most robust sanctions in history" but Washington has made it clear that “there is still time, there is still space for diplomacy backed by pressure to succeed.” He added: “The ball is in the government of Iran's court.”

Talks with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany have made little progress, but analysts have long predicted President Obama might increase efforts to sit down with Tehran after his re-election, points out Reuters. Iran itself is holding elections in June so any progress in negotiations before then seem unlikely. But things could move after that with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle predicting that “2013 is the decisive year on Iran, especially for political reasons.”

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.

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