Iran canceled Berman meeting at last minute

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A senior Iranian official at the last minute canceled a meeting with the Jewish chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) was to have met in December in Bahrain with Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament and formerly the top Iranian nuclear negotiator, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Larijani pulled out just before Berman was to travel, the Journal reported; it was not clear why. Berman had informed the Bush White House and the Obama transition team of his plans, the newspaper said.

Spokesmen for Berman would not comment.

Berman, like his predecessor as chairman, the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), favors directly engaging Iran while maintaining its isolation until it ends its suspected nuclear weapons program.
 

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