Obama and Romney in second debate
Obama and Romney in second debate AFP/Stan Honda

U.S. President Barack H. Obama could conceivably conduct talks with Iran, the White House said Tuesday night. No such talks have been scheduled and none are currently on the agenda, despite incessant rumors, said White House spokesperson Jay Carney. But commenting on a statement by Obama that the U.S. is and has been “have been open to pursuing negotiations if and when the Iranians are serious about having negotiations,” Carney said that the U.S. is “open” to such talks.

“We have been open to considering negotiations that are bilateral,” Carney told reporters. “But we have none scheduled and we have no agreements with the Iranians to do that.” There are no talks going on right now, secret or otherwise, and none are scheduled, Carney stressed.

The New York Times said Sunday that the U.S. and Iran had agreed in principle to hold talks. But both the White House and Iran denied the report.

During the third presidential debate Monday night, Republican hopeful Mitt Romney said that he saw Iran as the greatest threat to American security right now. Obama demurred, saying that he saw terrorist networks as the greatest threat. But, Obama stressed, “Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.”