WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has told Iran the United States would accept Tehran having a civilian nuclear programme if the Islamic state can prove it is not seeking atomic weapons, the Washington Post said Friday.
Obama sent such a message to Tehran via Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who delivered it to Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei last week, said the newspaper’s foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius. “President Obama has signaled Iran that the United States would accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if Supreme leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent public claim that his nation ‘will never pursue nuclear weapons’,” said Ignatius. “A few days before traveling to Iran, Erdogan had held a two-hour meeting with Obama in Seoul, in which they discussed what Erdogan would tell the ayatollah about the nuclear issue and Syria,” he wrote. The United States said Thursday that it still expected Iran to hold talks with six world powers on the Islamic republic’s disputed nuclear program to go ahead next week, despite a dispute on the venue being Istanbul or Baghdad.