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  • 7/28/2008

Obama: I want Bush to succeed with Iran


Photo: Democratic presidential nominee-to-be Barack Obama


Democratic candidate Barack Obama says he wants President George W. Bush to succeed in negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program.

In a Saturday interview with Reuters, Senator Obama said Tehran should consider the decision by the Bush administration to send a senior diplomat to nuclear talks with Iran as a substantive move.

The presidential hopeful was referring to a meeting held in Geneva on July 19 between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (G5+1).

During the nuclear talks mediated by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, a package of incentives drawn up by the G5+1 requiring Iran to suspend enrichment in return for political and economic benefits was discussed.

The US joined other Western diplomats at the negotiation table for the first time despite its previous insistence that it would not negotiate with Iran unless it suspended its enrichment activities.

"Bill Burns is a very serious guy. And the Iranians should take that gesture seriously," Senator Obama said in regard to the attendance of US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns in the talks.


Photo: US President George W. Bush


"I want the Bush administration to be successful in working with the Europeans to get Iran to stand down on its nuclear weapons program," he added.

His remarks, however, run counter to the findings of the most recent UN nuclear watchdog report, which has concluded that there is no link between the use of nuclear material and the 'alleged studies' of weaponization attributed to Iran by Western countries.

The West accuses Iran of making efforts to develop nuclear arms. Tehran, however, insists that its enrichment activities are aimed at electricity generation and further peaceful applications of nuclear technology.

As the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) acknowledges the rights of all signatory states in uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes, Iran has cited diplomacy as the only means acceptable in settling the dispute surrounding its nuclear program.

The 46-year-old senator made the remarks while returning from his weeklong tour to the Middle East and Europe, aimed at burnishing his foreign policy credentials.

During his stay in the Mideast, the Democrat renewed his pledge to hold talks with 'any leader' without preconditions should doing so promote US national security.

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