Feb 222005

Last week, President Bush said it was important that America “work with friends like we’re doing with France..Germany, and Great Britain” to disarm Iran. In fact, the administration has been doing just the opposite, choosing isolation over engagement. “Britain, France and Germany have been working on a diplomatic solution to end Iran’s nuclear program,” but on Monday, a senior administration official said the U.S. “had no intention of directly joining” those talks, even though “many European officials” have expressed concern the talks will fail without U.S. involvement. On Monday, Chirac once again “made clear” to Bush “that the dialogue with Iran needed full international support, including that of the United States.” The White House has given no indication it will enter the talks.

European negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons will only succeed if “the United States joins in and throws its weight behind it,” Mohamed ElBaradei has said. ElBaradei, the U.N.’s chief nuclear watchdog, said Germany, France, and Great Britain could not by themselves offer Iran sufficient “economic and security guarantees” to pressure the country into a comprehensive nuclear agreement, the Financial Times reports. Moreover, Bush administration saber-rattling toward Iran “only makes the country more determined to acquire a nuclear deterrent,” ElBaradei said. The U.S. has thus far rejected participation in the talks, despite President Bush’s frequent misleading claims that “we are working with European allies” on the issue.

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