Posted: Feb 3, 2013 2:25 AM
Updated: Feb 3, 2013 2:27 AM
MUNICH (AP) Iran's foreign minister is welcoming the United States' willingness to hold direct talks with Tehran in the standoff over its nuclear program but isn't committing to accepting the offer.
Vice President Joe Biden told a security conference Saturday the U.S. is prepared to talk directly with Iran but insisted Tehran must show it is serious.
Iran's Ali Akbar Salehi told the same conference Sunday that Iran views recent U.S. statements "with positive consideration."
But he was wary about prospects for talks. He says Iran must be sure the U.S. has "a fair and real intention to resolve the issue" and complains about "threatening rhetoric."
New talks involving all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany are due soon. Salehi said they'd be held Feb. 25 in Kazakhstan.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Israel's defense minister said Sunday that he sees the fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad as imminent, and that it will be a major blow to his country's regional archrival Iran.
Ehud Barak's appearance at a gathering of the world's top diplomats and defense officials in Germany came days after an Israeli airstrike that the U.S. says hit a convoy of anti-aircraft weapons inside Syria bound for the militant Lebanese Hezbollah group.
Israel hasn't publicly acknowledged the airstrike.
Barak brought the issue up and stopped short of confirming it, but said "what happened in Syria several days ago... that's proof that when we said something we mean it we say that we don't think it should be allowed to bring advanced weapons systems into Lebanon."
He added that "Hezbollah from Lebanon and the Iranians are the only allies that Assad has left."
He said in his view Assad's fall "is coming imminently" and when it happens, "this will be a major blow to the Iranians and Hezbollah."
"I think that they will pay the price," he said.