Washington believes that new sanctions imposed by the European Union on Iran earlier in the week 'are having an effect on the thinking in Tehran,' a spokesman for the U.S. Department of States said.
EU foreign ministers approved on Monday tighter sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. The sanctions, which include new restrictions on foreign trade, financial services and the oil and gas sectors, come a month after the adoption of UN sanctions on Iran on June 9.
"We've heard again today that Iran appears to be a bit willing to engage in a direct conversation. We hope that if we are able to set up such a meeting, they will engage constructively. Time will tell," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told a daily press briefing.
The EU sanctions go further than the UN sanctions, which were softened to secure support of veto-wielding members Russia and China, and are designed to prevent EU firms investing in Iran's energy sector.
The sanctions ban the export to Iran of key equipment and technology for the production and refining of natural gas. Ships suspected of carrying illegal material will be inspected and over 40 individuals and more than 50 companies have been blacklisted.
Western powers suspect Iran of attempting to build nuclear weapons under the guise of civilian nuclear power generation.
MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti)