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MP Says Iran Leader Opposes Direct Talks With U.S.


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei opposes holding direct negotiations with the United States, a senior lawmaker said in comments published on October 26.

"Presently, the Supreme National Security Council and the supreme leader emphasise that our strategic policies are based on the absence of negotiations with the United States," "Hambastegi" newspaper quoted vice speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar as saying.

"That is why we will not have any direct negotiations with the United States," Bahonar said at a meeting of an Islamic engineers association, the reformist daily reported.

Bahonar is a conservative MP who often criticizes the government of hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

The United States severed ties with Tehran shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. But Iranian and U.S. officials took part in talks in Geneva on October 1 aimed at resolving a long-running standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

In the "Hambastegi" report, Bahonar did not mention the Geneva meeting between Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France, and Britain or follow-up talks held in Vienna last week.

"The policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on the absence of official negotiations with the United States...the conditions for such negotiations must emerge, which have not as yet emerged," Bahonar said.
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