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Verizon CEO has told Apple he wants to offer the iPhone

The chief executive of Verizon said Tuesday he has told Apple his company would like to carry the iPhone, and he even cited a recent report that said Apple is working on a CDMA-capable iPhone.

But Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg did not say whether or not the iPhone is coming to Verizon, or even whether he knows the answer. Seidenberg's comments came before the Council on Foreign Relations, according to The Associated Press.

The executive of Verizon, the largest wireless provider in the U.S., reportedly cited a story printed in late March in The Wall Street Journal that Apple is working on two new iPhones, including one CDMA-capable version that could run on the Verizon network in the U.S. That report alleged that a CDMA iPhone could go into mass production in September, potentially arriving on the Verizon network. However, the CEO declined to confirm the report or give any additional details.

Seidenberg's citation of the Journal seems to suggest that even he does not know whether the iPhone will be made available on his company's network this year. Speculation of a Verizon iPhone has persisted for some time, as AT&T's exclusive contract with Apple is rumored to expire this year.

Talk of a Verizon iPhone cooled in January, after Apple executives made a clear effort to demonstrate they are happy with their partnership with AT&T. The company also aimed to downplay speculation that the iPhone would become available on multiple carriers in the U.S. Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said multi-carrier strategies are not the best option for every country.

Seidenberg's comments come as Apple is prepared to preview its forthcoming iPhone OS 4.0 mobile operating system at a special event scheduled for Thursday. New phones will not likely be introduced until this summer, when the operating system upgrade is formally released to the public.