WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The United States and Iran have agreed for the first time to have one-on-one talks over the latter 's controversial nuclear program, the New York Times reported on Saturday, quoting Obama administration officials.
The agreement was the result of intense and secret exchanges between officials of the two countries, which began almost immediately after President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the newspaper said on its website.
The news came more than two weeks before the American voters head to polls to choose between Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, and just two days before the duo are scheduled to have their third and final debate in Boca Raton, the U.S. state of Florida, with the focus on foreign policy.
The Romney campaign have launched a scathing attack on Obama's foreign policy record, despite the Obama campaign's repeated boasting of the incumbent U.S. president's strong achievements in foreign policy, including the imposition of crippling sanctions against Iran never seen before.
"Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election," the Times quoted a senior administration official as saying, adding the Iranians want to know with whom they would be negotiating.