The Iran backtrack turnaround two-step

The State Department reverses its policy on Iran and declares another foreign policy victory.

Published May 15, 2007 1:58PM (EDT)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Jan. 11, 2007, in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

"We are, I think, dealing with Iran in the proper fashion, which is to insist with the rest of the international community that any negotiations with Iran are going to be on the basis of suspension of their nuclear program ... I don't think there's an absence of diplomacy, an absence of a policy toward Iran and Syria. It's just that direct negotiations on this matter put us in the role of supplicant. And I think that's a problem."

The Associated Press in a report Monday:

"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday the United States decided to hold talks with Iran about security in wartorn Iraq because officials believed the timing was right. 'We've had that channel (for talks) for some time, and it seemed like a good time to activate it,' Rice told reporters accompanying her here [in Moscow] for talks with Russian officials."

The New York Times in a report Tuesday:

"VIENNA, May 14 -- Inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency have concluded that Iran appears to have solved most of its technological problems and is now beginning to enrich uranium on a far larger scale than before, according to the agency's top officials."

By Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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