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Rice: U.S. talks not needed for Iran to halt its meddling in Iraq

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Iran Focus: Washington, D.C., Dec. 22 – United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted on Thursday that the Bush administration had been reasonable in offering Iran a chance to hold direct talks if Tehran ceased its uranium enrichment activities. Iran Focus

Washington, D.C., Dec. 22 – United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted on Thursday that the Bush administration had been reasonable in offering Iran a chance to hold direct talks if Tehran ceased its uranium enrichment activities.

“We’ve given the Iranians a chance to talk. In fact, we said we will reverse 27 years of policy. I myself have said I’ll show up any place, any time, anywhere to talk with my Iranian counterpart, with other European leaders, if the Iranians will just do the one simple thing that the world has been asking them to do for almost three years: suspend their enrichment capabilities, enrichment activities so that they don’t continue to perfect the technologies to produce a nuclear weapon”, Rice said in an interview on PBS. “So the opportunity is there”.

Rice said that Iran and Syria would try to “extract a price” to stop destabilising Iraq. “The problem in the ‘just talk to Iran’ or ‘just talk to Syria’ idea is that, if Iran and/or Syria believe that it is in their interests to have a stable Iraq, then they will act in accordance with that. If they don’t believe that it is in their interest, they will not, or they will try to exact a price”.

“And I don’t believe for a minute that the Iranians are going to talk about Iraq over here and leave their nuclear program over here without trying to make some kind of trade”, she said.

“If the Iranians and the Syrians want to act to stabilise Iraq, they can do that without talking to us.

“But the idea that we somehow have to tell them what to do in order to stabilise Iraq, when they, in fact, are the ones who are destabilising Iraq, they know what they’re doing. They can stop it on any day.

“Perhaps the reason that they would perhaps rather do it by talking to us is that then they can exact a price for cooperation in Iraq, and those are prices we’re not willing to pay”, Rice said.

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