The Obama administration is pushing for a meeting with Iranian officials this week at the Almaty talks in Kazakhstan.
The U.S. knows they face an uphill battle, as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayattolah Ali Khamenei has made clear his belief that overtures for talks are simply a ploy to control Iran.
Said Khamenei: “They say, ‘Let us negotiate to force Iran to accept what we tell them.'” This is unacceptable in his mind.
Many European leaders remain hopeful Iran will take part in the talks, as they believe Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holds a different opinion from Khamenei. U.S. officials agree; they believe the talks hinge on Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
The Obama admin is conveying their desire for talks through European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton.