Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Iran not to boycott a conference next week of the major countries and parties with a stake in the future of Iraq, at which the United States and Iran would have an opportunity for senior-level talks.
Iran's hard-line president proposed Monday to hold public talks with President Bush on a wide range of issues, without saying whether that included international suspicions of the Iranian nuclear program or allegations of Iranian meddling in Iraq.
In the latest effort to force Iran to curb its uranium enrichment activities, the European Union approved a second phase of United Nations sanctions on Monday.
Irritated by the prospect of a huge European gas development deal with Iran, the Bush administration said Monday it will argue that such transactions undercut international bargaining power over Iran's nuclear program.
Iran will not halt its atomic activities under any circumstances, Iran's president told Reuters on Monday, dashing any hopes Tehran might be persuaded to back down over its disputed nuclear program.
The United States believes Iran could be holding a former FBI agent who has been missing since March, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Monday but gave no evidence to support the statement.
The US State Department announced sanctions Monday against 14 entities, including three Chinese firms and Syria's air force and navy, as part of a stepped up drive to halt banned military dealings with Iran and Syria.
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Monday claimed in Havana that Washington supported terrorism in various parts of the world, criticizing last week's release of a former CIA operative convicted in the deadly 1976 downing of a Cuban airliner.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will seek this week to persuade Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment, using both the carrot of a huge cooperation package and the stick of greater sanctions.
Iran and the European Union will resume talks on Tehran's nuclear program in Turkey on Wednesday after the EU endorsed sanctions against the Islamic republic going beyond U.N. resolutions.