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Washington Denies Policy Change on Iran

The United States State Department is downplaying speculation of a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran, after America’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, was seen sitting at a panel with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week.
State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said the event does not signal a shift in U.S. policy towards Iran or contact with Iranian officials.
The U.S. is taking a tough line on Iran because of the latter’s controversial nuclear program.
Washington is involved in efforts to pressure Iran into abandoning its uranium enrichment activities and has not ruled out military action against Iran if diplomatic efforts fail.
The international community fears Iran is covertly manufacturing a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
There have been limited talks between American and Iranian officials at the ambassadorial level, but these talks have been restricted to the security situation in Iraq.
State Department officials are saying Khalilzad did not get advance clearance to appear on the panel besides the Iranian foreign minister, and would not have received permission had he asked. The significance of the episode is being downplayed.