Polite Condi and the not-so-imminent threat

The president on Iran.

Published April 30, 2007 7:09PM (EDT)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said over the weekend that she wouldn't rule out the possibility that she'll meet one-on-one with her Iranian counterpart during an international "neighbors' conference" on Iraq this week.

At the White House today, George W. Bush was asked how such a conversation might play out. His response: "Should the foreign minister of Iran bump into Condi Rice, Condi won't be rude. She's not a rude person. I'm sure she'll be polite."

The president said he expected Rice to remind the Iranian foreign minister that "there's a better way forward for the Iranian people than isolation," and that he hoped that the foreign minister "would see the resolve of our government, through Condi, to continue to rally the world to convince the Iranians to give up their nuclear ambitions."

"I happen to believe a significant threat to world peace, today and in the future, is the Iranian threat if they were to end up with a nuclear weapon," Bush said. Then the president checked himself: "'Today'" is the wrong word -- in the future. They don't have a weapon today."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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