US accepts Iranian offer for talks on nuclear issue

      The United States has accepted Iran's proposal to hold talks, despite the Islamic republic announcing that it would not bring its future nuclear programs on the discussions table. The decision to engage directly with Iran would put a senior representative of the Obama administration at the bargaining table, along with emissaries from five other nations, for the first time since Obama took office, the New York Times reports. The decision is bound to raise protests from conservatives and human rights groups. Earlier on Friday, senior administration officials said that their expectations from the talks were extremely low. "We'll be looking to see if they are willing to engage seriously on these issues. If we have talks, we will plan to bring up the nuclear issue," paper quoted US State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley, as saying. They added that the United States could make a case for imposing far stronger sanctions on Iran if diplomatic engagements fail. Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany are going to be present on the discussion table, who in the past have negotiated with Iran even without the presence of an American representative. Iran made its offer to meet in a five-page letter delivered to several nations on Wednesday. But the letter said nothing about Iran's nuclear program. However, this week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed never to halt the fuel production. Within less than 48 hours the Obama administration said they would consider the offer to meet. Even though it is unclear who will represent the US on the discussion table, but most probably William J. Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, will lead America. Earlier, Burns was quoted as saying that the Obama administration had begun preparing sanctions against Iran, so that it would be ready to implement them at the end of the year.

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