The United States has offered to hold direct talks with Iran if Iran fully and verifiably suspends its uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. The U.N. Security Council and the IAEA have called for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activity because of well-founded suspicions that the program is intended to help Iran build nuclear weapons.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the government of Iran has a choice to make:
"The Iranians can, by seriously negotiating about their nuclear program and seriously coming to a civil nuclear program that is acceptable to the international community, begin to change the relationship that it has with the international community, change the relationship that it has with the United States, begin to open the possibilities for cooperation."
But, says Ms. Rice, the nuclear issue is not the only issue standing in the way of improved relations with the United States:
"The Iranian government supports terror. It is involved in violence in Iraq. And it is undercutting the restoration of full sovereignty in Lebanon. . . .These policies are out of step with the international community and are barriers to a positive relationship between the Iranian people and the people of the United States as well as with the rest of the world."
The Iranian clerical regime, said Secretary of State Rice, "can decide on one of two paths, one of two fundamentally different futures for its people and for its relationship to the international community":
"The Iranian people have a proud past. They merit a great future. We believe the Iranian people want a future of freedom and human rights – the right to vote, to run for office, to express their views without fear, and to pursue political causes. We would welcome the progress, prosperity, and freedom of the Iranian people. The United States looks forward to a new relationship between our peoples that could advance those goals."
The United States hopes, said Secretary of State Rice, "that the Iranian regime will choose to make that future possible."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.