WASHINGTON, July 18 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said
on Friday that early talks between the US and Iran, set to begin this weekend,
will only go forward after Iran meets enrichment preconditions.
Rice described the decision to send a top US diplomat, William Burns, to
weekend talks with an Iranian envoy as a "tactical decision" to receive a
reply from the Iranian government to an international request for Tehran to
the shut down its nuclear program and suspend nuclear enrichment and
In a break from policy, Burns, the third-highest ranking State Department
officials will join European Union chief diplomat Javier Solana and diplomats
from other permanent United Nations Security Council member countries and
Germany, to meet with Iranian representative Saeed Jalili, in Geneva this
At the State Department news conference, Rice said she hopes this gesture
will be enough to prompt an Iranian commitment to stop uranium enrichment, and
allow for US-Iranian diplomatic negotiations to go forward.
"The United States doesn't have any permanent enemies. And we hope that the
signal that we're sending, that we fully support the track that Iran could
take for a better relationship with the international community, is one that
the United States stands fully behind," said Rice.
However, "The United States has a condition for the beginning of
negotiations with Iran. And that condition remains the verifiable suspension
of Iran's enrichment and reprocessing activities," Rice added.
While Rice maintained Iran was a "difficult and dangerous state," she
believed any country could change course.
The US has shunned direct talks with Iran over it's nuclear program. In
2002, President George W. Bush branded Iran a member of the "axis of evil".
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