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U.S. Rules Nuclear Issue Out Of Iran Talks

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (right, file photo) (AFP) March 22, 2006 -- The United States said today it will not discuss Iran's nuclear program in future talks with Iran about the conflict in Iraq.

The U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Gregory Schulte, said the United States has "no intention" of opening direct negotiations with Tehran on the nuclear issue. He said the United States supports the European Union in its efforts to conduct negotiations over the Iranian nuclear ambitions.

Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has given his backing to the proposed talks.

"If our officials can make the Americans understand issues pertaining to Iraq, there is no objection to [talks with the U.S.]," he said.

Iran first announced it has agreed to the talks last week.