Iran dismissed American government reports that senior U.S. and Iran envoys had a cordial — and promising — face-to-face exchange at an international conference, saying Wednesday that no "talks" took place. The competing accounts of Tuesday''s encounter in the Netherlands appeared to reflect the different approaches to overtures to end the United States'' and Iran''s nearly 30-year diplomat standoff.

Washington has seemed eager to build on President Barack Obama''s surprise video message last month to seek engagement with Iran''s ruling clerics. Iran has — in public, at least — been far cooler to making immediate contacts, but has not fully rejected some openings in the future.

Iran''s take on The Hague conference was just as nuanced — not flatly denying that senior U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke and Iranian diplomat Mehdi Akhundzadeh met at a conference to discuss Afghanistan but concentrating on the semantics of whether official talks took place.

"Maybe this — the report on the meeting by the U.S. — indicates that the other party is hasty to take advantage of the conference," Akhundzadeh was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

The statement noted that any exchange that occurred at the Afghanistan conference was not comparable with official talks, such as the ambassador-level meetings between the United States and Iran to discuss Iraq.

"Rest assured," IRNA quoted Akhundzadeh, Iran''s deputy foreign minister, "that if there is a decision to have talks with U.S., like the talks on Iraq, all will be informed about it. There is nothing to hide."