Obama administration: No ‘direct talks’ letter to Iran


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration said an Iranian lawmaker had mischaracterized its message warning against blocking the Strait of Hormuz and reiterating its commitment to dialogue.

Ali Mothari was quoted Wednesday by The Associated Press as saying that "In the letter, Obama called for direct talks with Iran."

The AP said Motahari described the first part of the letter as warning of retaliation if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s oil supply passes, and that the second part proposes dialogue.

There already have been reports that the United States has warned Iran against shutting down the strait.

Yahoo News on Wednesday quoted White House officials as saying that what had been conveyed was a "standard diplomatic message," which included routine language seeking a diplomatic resolution of tensions with Iran.

Separately on the same day, a senior administration official told Israeli and Jewish media that the Obama administration routinely communicates with Iran, through third parties, its willingness to resume talks on making more transparent Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

Iran’s agreement to such an offer was not forthcoming, the official said, adding that even if Iran were to join talks, it would not mitigate the intensified sanctions initiated by the Obama administration in recent weeks.

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