Iran's foreign minister on Sunday welcomed the United States' willingness to hold direct talks with Tehran in the standoff over its nuclear program but didn't commit to accepting the offer, insisting that Washington must show "fair and real" intentions to resolve the issue and complaining about "threatening rhetoric."
Ali Akbar Salehi insisted that no Iranian "red line" is getting in the way of direct negotiations with Washington, but also pointed to deep mistrust between the two countries.
Salehi was speaking at the same international security conference where Vice-President Joe Biden on Saturday said the United States was prepared talk directly to Iran. Biden insisted that Tehran must show it is serious and that Washington won't engage in such talks merely "for the exercise."
Washington has indicated in the past that it's prepared to talk directly with Iran on the nuclear issue, but so far nothing has come of it. Meanwhile, talks involving all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany have made little headway, while several rounds of international sanctions have cut into Iran's oil sales and financial transactions.
The next round of talks with the six powers will be held Feb. 25 in Kazakhstan, Salehi told the Munich Security Conference.