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Iran welcomes US involvement in nuclear talks
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Visiting Iranian Foreign MinisterManouchehr Mottaki welcomed on Thursday a U.S. involvement in its nuclear talks, hoping the U.S. presence would produce positive developments.

Mottaki made the remark in a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem after meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The participation of a U.S. envoy in nuclear talks in Geneva onSaturday is an opportunity for Washington which would help Washington listen to Iran directly, said Mottaki.

"We hope that the meeting in Geneva on Saturday will produce positive developments on the ground," he noted.

The United States announced on Wednesday that it would send Under Secretary of State William Burns to attend the talks betweenIranian chief nuclear negotiator Said Jalili and EU foreign policychief Javier Solana in Geneva on Saturday.

It is the first time that a senior American diplomat to participate in the session. Representatives of the UK, France, Russia, China, the U.S., and Germany are to take part in the meeting.

Meanwhile, Mottaki also revealed that Tehran was studying a U.S.plan to set up an interest section in Tehran, which would be the first such link in nearly 30 years.

But the U.S. has yet to present a formal letter to that effect,Mottaki said.

He added that Iran had already proposed to establish direct flights between Iran and the United States, saying Tehran is of the opinion that the two issues of flights and interest section can be mulled by both sides.

Mottaki, currently on a three-nation tour of West Asia, including Oman, Syria and Turkey, arrived here earlier in the day.

Mottaki's visit followed Assad's recent tour to France. Assad met French President Nicolas Sarkozy on July 12 and said Iran was not seeking atomic weapons. Sarkozy asked him to use his influencewith Iran to help ease Tehran's nuclear standoff.

(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2008)

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