June 12, 2013 / 8:48 PM / 4 years ago

Iran denies foreign minister called for talks with U.S.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi reacts upon his arrival to attend the official opening ceremony for the new headquarters of the Iranian embassy in Amman, May 7, 2013. REUTERS/Majed Jaber

(Reuters) - Iran’s Foreign Ministry has denied a Reuters report that Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi sent a letter to Iran’s supreme leader several months ago calling for wide-ranging talks with Washington, the ISNA student news agency reported on Wednesday.

“Our country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman denied Reuters’ report about the foreign minister’s letter to the supreme leader about negotiations with America,” ISNA reported.

He was referring to a Reuters special report that cited sources as saying Salehi sent a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that called for ”broad discussions with the United States.

Reuters stands by the story.

ISNA said the spokesman “described such baseless claims as a kind of story-telling ahead of the presidential elections in Iran that Westerners come up with from time to time to deviate public opinions.”

Iran’s presidential election takes place on Friday.

The United States broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980 at the height of a hostage crisis.

Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian in Zurich; Writing by Louis Charbonneau in New York; Editing by Michael Williams

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