U.S. ready for diplomatic talks with Iran

The U.S. is set for diplomatic talks with Iran's chief nuclear envoy in what marks a major shift in the Bush administration’s policy towards Tehran. Washington is also reportedly planning to launch a diplomatic mission in Iran – for the first t

Saturday’s talks will see Iran meet in Geneva, Switzerland, with the P5-plus-1 – the group of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia, the U.S.) and Germany.

Iran is expected to give a definitive answer to a number of incentives offered in exchange for halting its nuclear ambitions.

Speaking during a photo call with Finland’s Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it's time for Iran to choose.

“Well, we will see what the Iranians say. I think it’s going to be very clear to them that the international community and the P5-plus-1 are completely united in both tracks,” she said.

“That is, offering the Iranians a way to really engage with the international community, but also being insistent that they need to suspend verifiably their programme in order to enter negotiations.”

She added: “The point that we’re making is that the United States is firmly behind this diplomacy, firmly behind and unified with our allies, and hopefully, the Iranians will take that message.”

Many Tehran residents welcomed the U.S. plans to attend talks with Iran over its disputed nuclear programme. However, some voiced their concerns.

One said: “It is very positive that Iran is going to speak directly with America after 30 years and that this void between the two will be filled after so long. It can bring about positive achievements for Iran. However, Iran should not be in a passive position. Iran and the U.S. should both talk to reach common ground.”