Iran Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi addresses the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin on February 4, 2013.
Iran Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says the White House offer to hold direct talks with Iran is a sign of change in the US administration’s approach to Tehran, expressing his optimism in this regard.
"As I have said yesterday, I am optimistic. I feel this new administration is really this time seeking to at least divert from its previous traditional approach vis-a-vis my country," Salehi told the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin on Monday, Reuters reported.
Salehi, who participated in the three-day Munich Security Conference, however, also expressed doubt over the US “new gesture” and said that it was still very hard for Tehran to trust Washington.
"How do we trust again this new gesture?" he said.
The Iranian minister expressed hope that US President Barack Obama would hold out a promise by the president of the United States to "walk away from wars...and approaches that bring destruction, killings, and bloodshed."
Speaking at the 49th annual Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday, US Vice President Joe Biden said that Washington is ready to hold direct talks with Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program.
Iran and the P5+1 -- Russia, China, the United States, Britain, France and Germany -- have held several rounds of talks with main focus on Iranian nuclear energy program. The last round of negotiations between the two sides was held in Moscow in June 2012.
Salehi said on Sunday that the next round of comprehensive talks between Iran and the P5+1 would be held in Kazakhstan on February 25, 2013.
Salehi further highlighted the significance of talks between Iran and the US, saying, "I think it is about time both sides really get into engagement because confrontation certainly is not the way."
Also in an interview with Press TV on Sunday, the Iranian foreign minister welcomed Biden’s offer of direct talks with Tehran, saying, “We looked at it positively. I think this is a good overture.... But we will have to wait a little bit longer to see if their gesture is this time a real gesture...so that we will be making our decisions likewise.”
The US, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program with Washington and the European Union having imposed illegal unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic over the false allegation.
Iran refutes the allegation and argues that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.