Iran not opposed to direct talks with U.S. over nuclear program

Tehran said it is not opposed to direct talks with Washington to resolve the standoff over its nuclear weapons program.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini's comments appear to be a softening of its longstanding rejection of any bilateral talks with the United States. Despite the possible change, Khomeini said he is not optimistic that talks would have positive results unless Washington agrees to stop the sanctions against his country, according to

U.S. President Barack Obama is currently visiting Israel, which has made repeated threats to use military force to stop any production of a nuclear weapon. Khomeini, who recently addressed a crowd on the first day of the new year in the Persian calendar, included threats against the Jewish state.

"Sometimes, leaders of the Zionist regime threaten us," Khomeini said, reports. "They threaten to take military action. They are not in the size to be put in the list of Iranian nation's enemies."

Khomeini then said that if Israel attacked, Tel Aviv and Haifa would be leveled, according to

The U.S. and its allies, including Israel, believe Iran will be able to produce a nuclear weapon in time if left unchecked. Iran denies it is even attempting to create a nuclear weapon, and says its nuclear program is geared to towards generating electricity and other peaceful purposes.