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Iran rejects bilateral with US at nuclear talks

By Reuters

Iran has rejected a request to hold a bilateral meeting with the United States during ongoing talks in Istanbul with six world powers over its nuclear programme, an Iranian official said on Saturday.

Abolfazl Zohrevand, an aide to Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, said the request had been made by European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who has led talks for the big powers --the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

"But there is no need to hold such talks if it is not about the nuclear meeting in Istanbul," Zohrevand told Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam television news channel. Since the fall of the US backed shah in 1979, any contacts between the Islamic Republic and the United States have usually taken place behind the scenes, and were rarely confirmed by the Iranian side.