Iranian minister optimistic on US's new approach

Berlin, Feb 4 (IANS) Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi Monday said he was "optimistic" that the new US administration was shifting its approach to his country's disputed nuclear programme.

Referring to US Vice President Joe Biden's proposal of bilateral dialogue between the two countries, Salehi said he believed it was a sign of change of the new US administration's approach, Xinhua reported.

"As I have said yesterday (Sunday), I am optimistic," he said at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, a foreign policy think-tank.

"I feel this new US administration is really seeking this time to at least divert from its previous traditional approach vis a vis my country," Salehi said.

Biden earlier said during the Munich Security Conference that America's offer for bilateral talks with Iran on its nuclear programme was still valid.

Salehi said Sunday the sextet of international mediators -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the US and Germany (known as P5+1) -- will hold talks with Iran in Kazakhstan Feb 25.

"We are ready for negotiations" as long as "the other side this time comes with...fair and real intentions", Salehi said.

The P5+1 held three rounds of talks over the nuclear issue last year.

The US, Israel and some of their allies accuse Iran of using its nuclear energy programme to build nuclear weapons.

Iran rejects these allegations, arguing as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and member of the IAEA, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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