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Khamenei Adviser Calls For Direct U.S. Talks

Ali Akbar Velayati, seen during a presidential debate ahead of this year's election, was Iran's minister of foreign affairs for 16 years, from 1981 to 1997.
A top foreign policy adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called for direct talks with the United States over Iran's nuclear program.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a defeated presidential candidate, said in an interview on Iran's state-controlled television that the country would benefit from one-on-one talks with members of the so called P5+1.

Those countries -- United States, Russia, France, Britain, China, and Germany -- last month negotiated an interim deal with Iran over its nuclear program.

"We aren’t on the right path if we don’t have one-on-one talks with the six countries," Velayati was quoted as saying by Iranian state media.

A member of Iran's nuclear negotiating team announced earlier on December 27 that expert-level talks between Iran and the six major powers will resume on December 30 in Geneva.

Iran's nuclear chief meanwhile said that country is building a new generation of centrifuges for uranium enrichment but that they need further tests before they are put into operation. In comments reported by state TV, nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi did not specify how long construction and testing would take.

Based on reporting by IRNA, AP, and Mehr