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U.S. On Iran's Nuclear Program

President George W. Bush says that the Iranian government knows what it has to do for the United States to engage it in direct negotiations:

"That is, to do what they said they would do, which is [to] verifiably suspend their enrichment programs. One of the concerns that I have about the Iranian regime is their desire to develop a nuclear weapon. . .The idea of this. . .regime having a nuclear weapon by which they could blackmail the world is unacceptable to free nations. And that's why we're working through the United Nations to send a clear message that the E-U-3 [Germany, Britain, and France], and the United States, Russia, and China do not accept their desires to have a nuclear weapon."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that in and of itself "talking isn't a policy:"

"You have to actually. . .have a rational expectation that you can achieve something and that you have the conditions set for making progress whenever you engage in that kind of discussion. We have laid out a proposal, for example, on the nuclear front, where we believe that the conditions would be right to sit down with Iran in the context of the P-5+1 [Germany, Russia, China, Britain, France, and the United States], if they [the Iranian government] stopped all their enrichment-related and reprocessing- related activities."

Mr. McCormack says if that condition was met and such talks were to take place, a number of issues could be raised:

"The focus is the nuclear issue but. . .all the parties can raise various other issues, for example, human rights concerns about the way Iran treats its people, about its support for terrorism. Maybe they would have issues that they would want to raise vis-à-vis the United States or others in the P-5+1. That certainly is a possibility. So the possibility of talk exists."

But, says State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, "talk for talk's sake is not going to get anybody anywhere. It's not going to solve any of the problems."

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