WASHINGTON — The United States remains skeptical about Iran's willingness to compromise in negotiations over its nuclear program, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Monday.
"I think we have to approach this with a big grain of salt. President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad said one thing to the Iranian people on Saturday and another thing to an American journalist on Monday," she said.
"So I think that all of us need to consider this with a healthy dose of skepticism."
She was responding to an interview aired in part on the US television network NBC in which Ahmadinejad struck a relatively conciliatory tone.
If recent US behavior represented a genuinely new approach to Tehran, "we will be facing a new situation and the response by the Iranian people will be a positive one," Ahmadinejad said through an interpreter in a rare interview with a US broadcaster.
On Saturday, however, the president announced that Iran had boosted the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges to 6,000, in an expansion of its nuclear drive that defies international demands for a freeze.
The United States, in a break with past policy, took the unprecedented step of sending a top diplomat to meet Iran's chief negotiator at recent talks in Geneva over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.