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1st Qtr 13:33 2nd & 4, Opp's 48

Iran hints direct talks with US are possible

TEHRAN — Direct talks between Iran and the United States are possible, but any such breakthrough would have to be approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s foreign minister said Monday.

The comments by Ali Akbar Salehi were a first sign Tehran may seek diplomatic overtures with what it has long considered a nemesis in Washington, as sanctions over Iran’s contentious nuclear program stunt the country’s economy.

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‘‘Comprehensive political talks are within the powers of the exalted supreme leader,’’ Salehi said in comments published by the official IRNA news agency.

The United States cut diplomatic ties with Iran after militant students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran to protest Washington’s support for deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi following the country’s 1979 revolution. The revolution toppled the pro-US leader and led to an Islamic clerical government.

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