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U.S.: Time Not Right for Iran Talks

August 22, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Bush administration said Wednesday the time is still not right to hold talks with Iran.

``We’ll have a dialogue with Iran when it makes sense to have a dialogue with Iran,″ the deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said.

At the same time, he declined to say whether the Iranian parliament’s approvel of all 20 of President Mohammad Khatami’s nominees for Cabinet positions was a sign of moderation.

``That’s a decision for the people and leaders of Iran,″ he said.

The Clinton administration, which considered Khatami a moderating force, had made overtures to Tehran for talks. The administration had said there were no preconditions, but that the agenda would have to include Iran’s support for terrorism, its opposition to peacemaking in the Middle East and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

Reeker said the same issues would be on the agenda of any talks held by the Bush administration with Iran.

He said the Iranian government had not responded to the nature of the dialogue Washington proposed.

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