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US Senate Debating Diplomacy on Iran

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)-A weeklong debate on how to engage diplomatically with Iran was started in the US Senate committee on foreign relations on Tuesday.

Former US Ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, the Philippines, and India Frank G. Wisner II, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard N. Haass, Senior Fellow for Non-Proliferation International Institute for Strategic Studies Mark Fitzpatrick and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Associate Karim Sadjadpour are among the witnesses in the hearing.

Senator John Kerry, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, kicked off the weeklong hearings.

The development came after US new President Barack Obama promised "principled and sustained" engagement with the Islamic Republic.

Stressing Washington must set a timetable for "substantive progress" in any talks with Iran; Kerry said that the US should back direct dialogue with Tehran.

Meantime Richard Haas told the committee's senators that the Obama administration should take "a more positive approach" toward Tehran and called for the US to avoid publicly setting red lines on Iranian behavior that could not be enforced, saying there was still time for diplomacy.

Reminding that Iran would not simply give up its uranium enrichment program, Hass suggest that the new US administration accept a "right to enrich", and added that the potential talks with Tehran would need to focus on whether Iran is allowed "to have some enrichment capability".

The experts have warned that military action would not resolve the impasse over Iran's nuclear program and any hasty action could have dire repercussions for Washington and the region.

Iranian officials have always said that the strategy change of the United States would facilitate the direct talks with Iran.

"An American strategy change can pave the way for direct talks with the Islamic Republic of Iran," Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said early in February.

Also in January, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said about change in US policy towards Iran that "the people who want to make changes in the US should apologize to the Iranian nation and compensate for their crimes against the Iranians."

"We welcome change provided that it will be fundamental and in the correct direction, otherwise the world should know that if any one even with new words but with Mr. Bush's literature, spirit and aggressiveness wants to speak with Iranians, their response is the one they have stressed for years," he added.

Ahmadinejad further noted inauguration of the new US administration, and stressed, "The fact that a new administration with the slogan of 'change' has come to power and said that it wants to change US policies is good as Mr. Bush's policies were inhumane, immoral and alien to the prophets' teachings."

... Payvand News - 03/05/09 ... --

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