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Iran: Washington Says Talks Do Not Signal Reopening Formal Ties With Tehran

Washington, 12 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. State Department says recent talks between Washington and Tehran do not mean that discussing reopening diplomatic ties with Iran is on the table. State Department Spokesman Philip Reeker told reporters today these talks are focusing on practical matters such as Afghanistan.

Reeker said the United States remains concerned about Iran's support of terrorist groups, its efforts dealing with nuclear programs, and opposition to the Middle East peace process.

Earlier today, U.S. President George W. Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said the talks with the Tehran government do not represent an opening to diplomatic relations.

The United States cut diplomatic ties with Iran after radical students seized the U.S Embassy in Tehran in 1979 following the Islamic revolution.

Rice said in an interview with the Reuters news agency that the Bush administration is not debating the future of U.S. policy on Iran.

Washington has urged the International Atomic Energy Agency board of directors to declare Iran in noncompliance with the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty when it meets next month. Rice said if evidence of Iran's nuclear weapons programs "all pans out, noncompliance is pretty clear."