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President Clinton Says He Is Encouraged by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami’s Friendly

December 15, 1997

President Clinton Says He Is Encouraged by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami’s Friendly Overture and Would Consider Possibility of U.S.-Iran Talks

``It was welcomed,″ Clinton said after an unrelated meeting with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern. ``I would like nothing better than to have a dialogue with Iran, as long as we can have an honest discussion of all the relevant issues.″

Clinton defined those issues as the sponsorship of terrorism, ``violent attacks″ on the Mideast peace process and the ``development or acquisition″ of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

``We will continue to be concerned about those things,″ Clinton said. ``But I was quite encouraged by the president’s statement, and I think the American people should be.″

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami praised the United States on Sunday, referring to ``the great American people″ and saying he wanted a dialogue ``in the not too distant future.″ It was the strongest gesture of reconciliation since Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979.

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