TEHRAN - The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington would maintain a policy of engagement with Tehran after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was inaugurated for a second term.
"Our policy remains the same. We take the reality that the person who was inaugurated today will be considered the President," Clinton said in the Kenyan capital Nairobi as she launched a seven-nation Africa tour.
"We are still clear in our policy that engagement is on the table for the Iranians," Clinton was quoted by press tv as saying. She said that all "communication channels" are open for dialogue.
President Barack Obama has made overtures for dialogue with Iran after three decades of severed ties.
Britain echoed Washington's line as it defended the presence of Ambassador Simon Gass at President Ahmadinejad's Inauguration ceremony in Tehran. The country, however, underlined that it had not sent a congratulatory message to Ahmadinejad.
"Trying to make progress on these difficult but crucial issues requires hard-headed diplomacy. That does not mean 'business as usual' with Iran ... but it does mean communication channels have to be kept open," the UK Foreign Office said in a statement on Wednesday.
France and Sweden, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, sent their envoys to the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.
French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Romain Nadal stressed that Paris "in line with international law, recognizes states and not governments."