The New York Times
Saturday, October 20, 2012 -- 5:27 PM EDT
U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks
The United States and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.
In an exclusive report in Sunday’s New York Times, Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, citing Obama administration officials, write that Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election so that they know which American president they would be dealing with.
News of the agreement comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest. It has the potential to help President Obama make a case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the effort to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time. It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election.