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Rice: Iranian gov''t "dangerous but has vulnerabilities"

WASHINGTON, June 3 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said on Tuesday that the Iranian government is "dangerous" but has vulnerabilities the international community must exploit.
"The Iranian government is dangerous, yet Iran has vulnerabilities: its failing inflationary economic policies, its discredited revolutionary ideology, the resentment that its violent behavior fosters among its neighbors and the deprivation of its people at home. We can and we must exploit these vulnerabilities", said Rice.
Delivering a speech at the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Rice noted that the debate inside the United States and Israel about the Iranian threat "should not be about whether we talk to Iran".
"That is not the real issue. Diplomacy is not a synonym for talking. True diplomacy means structuring a set of incentives and disincentives to produce change in behavior", she added.
Rice urged European allies "to rise to this challenge and exploit Iran's vulnerabilities more vigorously and impose greater costs on the regime, economically, financially, politically and diplomatically".
The Secretary of State said that Tehran is meddling in Iraqs internal affairs referring to the showdown in Basra between Jaysh al-Mahdi and the Iraqi security forces.
"Iran's regime is increasingly on the wrong side of Iraqi nationalism, and it is hard to overstate how important this could be as a check on the regional ambitions of this violent and extremist state", she asserted.
Rice also reiterated US readiness to meet with Iranian officials, once Tehran relinquish its uranium enrichment activities.
"It requires that we keep open a path for negotiation, but it also requires that we impose costs on the Iranian regime should they refuse to negotiate", she affirmed.
Over 7,000 Pro Israel participants are taking part in AIPAC conference in Washington between 2-4 June.
"The U.S.-Israel alliance is indivisible and unbreakable. It is enduring, and we reject any attempt to reduce it to crude conspiracy theories", said Rice.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, two Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are yet to deliver a speech in addition to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is expected to meet with President George W. Bush tomorrow in the White House. (end) jm.bs KUNA 032058 Jun 08NNNN