Iran minister says 'optimistic' US shifting view on Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Monday that he was "optimistic" that the United States was revamping its approach to Tehran in the protracted dispute over Iran's nuclear programme.

"As I have said yesterday, I am optimistic," he told a foreign policy think-tank in Berlin.

"I feel this new (US) administration is really this time seeking to at least divert from its previous and traditional approach vis-a-vis my country."

Salehi had told a security conference in the southern German city of Munich Sunday that Iran was open to a US offer for bilateral discussions if Washington's intentions were "authentic".

And he said Iran was ready to resume talks over its disputed nuclear work with the United States and five other world powers in Kazakhstan on February 25, insisting that Iran had never pulled back from the negotiations.

"The recent approach by the US, we look at it positively," he said Monday.

"We hope that this time they are really meaning what they say and that they really want to see how they can resolve this issue bilaterally. We express our readiness to resolve the issue bilaterally."

Iran and six world powers -- the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- held three rounds of talks last year aimed at easing the standoff over Iran's nuclear activities, which Tehran insists are peaceful.

The six, known as the P5+1 or EU3+3, called on Iran to roll back its programme but stopped short of meeting Tehran's demands that they scale back sanctions, and the last round ended in stalemate in June in Moscow.

Since then, talks have been held up over disagreements on their location.