WASHINGTON (CNN) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton carefully side-stepped questions today about whether the United States would drop its long-standing insistence that Iran halt its nuclear enrichment program before any talks with the United States.
"We have not dropped or added any conditions," Clinton said at a State Department picture-taking session. But she repeated that the U.S. wants dialogue and engagement with Iran.
She had just met with European Union official Javier Solana who formally had extended an invitation for Iran to join talks with the U.S. and its allies. Clinton said there had been no response to the invitation. But meanwhile inside Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to be signaling Washington that talks are possible and that he soon may respond.
"We are looking to have an engagement with Iran but we haven't seen anything that would amount to any kind of proposal at all," Clinton said. "We will continue to work with our allies to make it clear that Iran cannot continue to pursue nuclear weapons."
"We will stand behind the sanctions that have already been implemented and we will look for new ways to extend collective action vis a vis Iran's nuclear program. At the same time we have made it clear to the Iranians …that we are open to engagement with them," Clinton added.