Iran General NewsNo US-Iran meeting at Afghan conference

No US-Iran meeting at Afghan conference


ImageAFP:Iran's foreign ministry on Wednesday denied reports that US and Iranian officials held a meeting on the sidelines of an international conference on Afghanistan, the Mehr news agency said.

ImageTEHRAN (AFP) — Iran's foreign ministry on Wednesday denied reports that US and Iranian officials held a meeting on the sidelines of an international conference on Afghanistan, the Mehr news agency said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi also denied that the Iranian delegation had received any letter from the US officials asking about the whereabouts of three American nationals reportedly jailed or gone missing in the Islamic republic.

"No meeting or talks… be it formal or informal, official or unofficial between Iran and US officials took place on the sidelines of this conference," Ghashghavi told Mehr.

"We categorically deny the reports published in this regard. As no meeting or talks took place, naturally no letter was handed to Iran from the American side."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said senior US and Iranian officials met on the sidelines of the conference on rebuilding Afghanistan held in The Hague on Tuesday.

"In the course of the conference today, our special representative for Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, had a brief and cordial exchange with the head of the Iranian delegation," she told a press conference.

Clinton said the meeting had been unplanned, but Holbrooke and Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mehdi Akhoondzadeh agreed to "stay in touch".

Clinton said she also delivered a letter to the Iranian delegation about three US nationals in Iran who are unable to return to the United States.

"In the letter we ask Iran to use all of its facilities to determine the whereabouts, and ensure the quick and safe return, of Robert Levinson" and release Roxana Saberi, while giving her and Esha Momeni permission to travel, she said.

Former FBI agent Levinson has been missing for two years since vanishing on the Gulf island of Kish, and no information has been forthcoming from Tehran on his plight.

Dual US-Iranian national Saberi was arrested on the orders of an Iranian revolutionary court, which handles security charges in Iran, and has been kept in Tehran's Evin prison since January.

Iranian-US student Esha Momeni, who was released on bail in January after being held on security charges, has been banned from leaving the Islamic republic.

Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic ties following the 1979 Islamic revolution and the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran.

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