WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Friday offered to meet bilaterally with the Iranian side over its controversial nuclear program on the sidelines of the upcoming talks with the so-called P5+1 group slated for next Tuesday.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland renewed the offer as Iran will meet again with Britain, China, France, Russia, the U. S. and Germany in Almaty, Kazakhstan for more talks.
"We have said from the beginning of this, in 2009, that we would be open if the Iranians wanted to, in the context of being together for the P5+1, to meet bilaterally with the Iranian side," she said at a regular news briefing.
"They have never chosen to take us up on that, but we will renew the offer this time," she added. "We continue to believe that with seriousness, there is a diplomatic solution to be had here."
Nuland was reminded by a reporter that Washington and Tehran did meet bilaterally under the P5+1 framework on Oct. 1, 2009 when then U.S. Under Secretary of State William Burns and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili had bilateral discussions in Geneva.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is for power generation and medical use only, but the West regards it as a cover for making nuclear weapons. Three rounds of talks were held last year between Iran and the P5+1 but no breakthrough was made.