The United States says it hopes recent comments from Iran's leader signify a willingness to improve relations between the two countries.
A State Department spokesman on Middle East issues says the United States wants good relations with Iran.
The spokesman, David Foley, tells VOA that remarks this week by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, could clear the way for open discussion of the possibility of resuming diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran.
Speaking to Iranian students on Thursday, Khamenei said Iran may someday resume relations with the United States, but that he sees no benefit to Iran in moving forward on that issue now. Then Khamenei added that Tehran has never said U.S.-Iranian relations should be severed permanently.
Foley said the United States interprets Khamenei's comments as an indication that Iran is opening the door to better relations.
Khamenei has the final word on all state matters in Iran.
U.S.-Iranian relations were severed after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution and the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by by Iranian militants.