(WASHINGTON) — The White House has thrown cold water on a report that it is ready to enter into direct talks with Iran over its rogue nuclear program.
According to a story in Saturday’s New York Times, Washington and Tehran have been engaged in back-channel discussions since the beginning of the Obama administration to find a way of agreeing upon one-on-one negotiations that might lead to Iran abandoning its enrichment of uranium, a key step in creating nuclear weapons.
The Times, quoting unnamed White House officials, says before any talks can start, Tehran wants to wait until after Election Day to learn who the next president will be. GOP nominee Mitt Romney has vowed to take a harder line with Iran than Obama.
However, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the Times’ story was not accurate and that there are no plans for any bilateral talks, saying that the U.S. would continue as part of the P5+1 — United National Security Council members plus Germany — to work toward a diplomatic solution to solving the crisis with Iran.
Vietor added that Obama “has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN