July 15, 2008 CNN
US official to attend meeting with Iran’s nuclear negotiator
WASHINGTON (AFP) – A senior US diplomat will attend international nuclear talks with Iran on Saturday, marking a shift in US policy on negotiations with Tehran, a State Department official said.
Undersecretary of State William Burns will attend the weekend meeting in Geneva between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Tehran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.
The United States has no official contact with Iran and until now has refused to even participate in preliminary discussions with Iranian officials unless Tehran first suspends its nuclear enrichment activities.
Burns, the State Department’s third-ranking official, would be in Geneva “to receive the Iranian response to the latest offer of the P5 plus 1,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
The meeting was planned as the five permanent members of the UN security council plus Germany seek to reach an agreement with Tehran over its atomic program, which the West believes is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.