Wednesday, February 02, 2005

US Says Early Days of Iran Diplomacy

The United States has not run out of patience with diplomatic efforts to end Iran's suspected nuclear arms program, despite tough talk from other U.S. officials, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says.

The U.S. diplomatic playbook included waiting to see whether European talks with Iran end the crisis, a fall-back option of reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council and working with partners such as Russia to delay its programs, she said.

"For a variety of reasons we are fairly early in the diplomacy," Rice said in an interview with two news agencies ahead of a trip this week to Europe. ...

"The Europeans have embarked on an effort that we greatly appreciate," said Rice, who travels to Europe as part of a U.S. strategy to repair ties frayed over the Iraq war.

"We hope for the best. But the Iranians have not demonstrated over time that they have been particularly good about living up to their international obligations," she added. ...

The administration has bet Iran's rulers are too unpopular to remain in power long, Clawson said. "There is an optimism within the administration that the Iran nuclear problem can be managed until such time as this Iranian regime falls apart," he said.

"The Iranians are being told across the board that they cannot be responsible members of the international community and seek nuclear weapons under cover a of a civilian nuclear program," she said. "That's not acceptable."