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Iran: Karroubi Says Door Not Closed To U.S. Talks

Tehran, 1 June 2002 (NCA) -- Iran's parliament speaker, Mehdi Karroubi, said today that the time is not right for talks with the United States, but "the door is not closed forever." Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled out talks with the U.S., following Washington's repeated accusations that Tehran is developing weapons of mass destruction.

But Karroubi quoted the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as saying that "if the Americans put an end to their imperialist behavior, the path will be open."

In related news, Karroubi also said Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri should be released from house arrest. Montazeri was designated to succeed Khomeini when the later died in 1989, but was disgraced in a power struggle with Khamenei.

Montazeri, a once hard-line cleric, is seen by some reformists as a liberal alternative to the conservative Khamenei.