US, Europe Reiterate Offer for Talks with Iran

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration and its allies in Europe are reiterating their offer for nuclear talks with Iran as they prepare additional sanctions on the country’s oil sector.
 
Iran, too, has said recently they are prepared to hold talks, but Secretary Clinton Friday said they need to show they are serious about talking substantively about their nuclear program.
 
“We all are seeking clarity about the meaning behind Iran's public statements that they are willing to engage, but we have to see a seriousness and sincerity of purpose coming from them,” she said during a press conference with her German counterpart.
 
On Friday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton released a letter she sent to Iran’s nuclear negotiator last October which called for Iran to take “concrete and practical” confidence building steps.
 
Clinton declined to reveal what concrete steps the U.S. and its allies are looking for.
 
“Confidence will start with their conveying a seriousness of purpose to engage with us and our partners in the E-3 plus three process. That would build confidence. And then the additional steps will await the actual resumption of negotiations,” she told reporters.
 
Her German counterpart echoed the sentiment.
 
“We are ready for serious dialogue and substantial talks on this. Just to meet for show, that this meeting would be misused for propaganda, is not what we want to do,” Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.
 
The extended hand comes as tensions between Iran and the West remain high as the international community continues to increase sanctions on Iran. The Obama administration has sought to tone down its rhetoric in recent days as tempers flared in the Strait of Hormuz.
 
“We're making it clear to Iran, as the minister said, that its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its needless provocations such as the threats on -- regarding the Straits of Hormuz, place it on a dangerous path,” Clinton said Friday.
 
“I want to underscore: We do not seek conflict,” she added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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