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Iran And NATO Officials Hold First Talks In 30 Years

Iranian officials and NATO officials have held their first talks since the Iranian Revolution 30 years ago.

News agency AFP reports that an Iranian diplomat and a senior NATO official had an "informal contact" at NATO headquarters in Brussels last week, where they discussed security efforts in Iran's neighbor Afghanistan.

"The diplomat met with Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy Martin Erdmann," chief NATO spokesman James Appathurai said, adding that a second meeting has not been planned.

AFP quotes a NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying the meeting was the first since the regime of the Shah of Iran, which collapsed in 1979.

The meeting is a new sign of a potential thaw in Iran's relations with the West.

Tehran this week confirmed that it will attend a conference on Afghanistan on March 31 in The Hague. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has said, however, that the level of Iran's participation is not yet clear, and U.S. Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton said there are no plans for "substantive" talks with Iran within the framework of the Afghanistan conference.

"The New York Times" reported earlier this month that U.S. military officials are exploring alternative supply routes for NATO and Afghan troops in Afghanistan -- possibly even including Iran.