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U.S. Overture To Iran

The United States will join multilateral talks with Iran on its nuclear program once Iran suspends certain nuclear-related activities. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the announcement:

"The United States is willing to exert strong leadership to give diplomacy its very best chance to succeed. Thus, to underscore our commitment to a diplomatic solution and to enhance the prospect for success, as soon as Iran fully and verifiably suspends its uranium-enrichment and reprocessing activities, the United States will come to the table with our E-U colleagues [the European Union 3: France, Germany and Britain] and meet with Iran's representatives."

In April, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran would defy the international community and press ahead with industrial-scale uranium enrichment. The United Nations Security Council, the European Union, and the International Atomic Energy Agency had called on Iran to stop enrichment activity because of well-founded suspicions that the program's aim is to make nuclear weapons, not just fuel for power stations. That poses a "direct threat," says Ms. Rice, to the international community.

The United States, says Secretary of State Rice, is urging Iran to "make the choice for peace" and "abandon its ambition for nuclear weapons":

"Iran must adhere to the international community's demands that it suspend its [uranium-] enrichment activities and return to negotiations and that if Iran is to have a civil nuclear program, it needs to be one in which the international community can have confidence that they're not trying to build a nuclear weapon under cover of civil nuclear power."

The choice for Iran now, said Secretary of State Rice, is clear. "The negative choice," she said, "is for the regime to maintain its current course, pursuing nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community and international obligations. If the regime does so, it will incur only great costs. The positive and constructive choice", Ms. Rice said, "is for the Iranian regime to alter its present course and cooperate in resolving the nuclear issue."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.