UNITED NATIONS, April 9 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Thursday U.S. involvement in negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, his spokesperson Michele Montas said.
"The secretary-general welcomes this development and hopes for an early resolution of this issue in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions," Montas told a regular press briefing.
The Obama administration said Wednesday that it would directly participate "from now on" in international talks with Iran over its nuclear program, the latest effort made by the administration as promised diplomatic outreach to Tehran.
"There's nothing more important than trying to convince Iran to cease its efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who noted that the United States would be a full participant with Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in talks with Iran.
Clinton's remarks were viewed as a shift of the Obama administration's Iran policy. Its predecessor, the Bush administration, had refused to take part in talks involving Iran on its nuclear issue, saying that Tehran had to first stop the uranium enrichment program.
U.S. State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood said Thursday at a daily press briefing that the U.S. has not put any preconditions on a direct dialogue with Iran, but it would be up to Tehran's willingness and behavior.
The United States and its European allies claim that Iran intends to secretly develop nuclear weapons, while the UN Security Council also requires Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activity.
However, Iran insists that its nuclear plan is only for peaceful purposes, and continues its uranium enrichment activity despite the pressure from the western countries and relevant resolutions and sanctions of the United Nations.