White House says no bilateral talks scheduled for Iran

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:33pm EDT

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ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is open to having bilateral talks with Iran about its nuclear program, but the United States has not scheduled any negotiations, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday.

"We have been open to considering negotiations that are bilateral, but we have none scheduled and we have no agreements with the Iranians to do that," Carney told reporters. "There is nothing scheduled. There is no agreement."

The New York Times reported on Sunday, citing Obama administration officials, that the United States and Iran had agreed in principle to one-on-one negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, but both the White House and Iran have denied the report.

During the final presidential debate on Monday, Obama said he has long offered Iran the possibility of bilateral discussions, a point Carney reiterated, saying, "we are and have been open to pursuing negotiations if and when the Iranians are serious about having negotiations."

(Reporting By Jeff Mason; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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