Iran Says Open to U.S. Ties Without ‘Preconditions’

Posted July 22nd, 2011 at 1:15 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Iran's foreign minister on Friday said the Islamic Republic is open to normalizing relations with the U.S. but only on “an equal footing and without preconditions.”

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi's comments, carried in state-run media, did not directly refer to sanctions imposed by the U.S. over Iran's disputed nuclear program.

Iran and the U.S. have not had diplomatic ties for more than three decades, partly due to U.S. concern about Iran's nuclear program.

The U.S. and other Western powers believe Iran has intentions of developing nuclear weapons but Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful.

On Tuesday, Iran announced it was installing new centrifuges aimed at speeding up its enrichment of nuclear material. The foreign ministry said the new equipment would also improve the quality of the process.

Salehi also said Friday that Iran hoped to resolve a “misunderstanding” with Saudi Arabia.

Tensions rose between the two countries in March after Iranian officials voiced opposition to Saudi Arabia's decision to allow its forces to enter Bahrain. The Saudi forces helped Bahrain's Sunni rulers clamp down on protests led by the kingdom's Shi'ite majority.