Rice: U.S. may talk to Iran


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United States may try direct talks with Iran to prevent the Islamic Republic from escalating its nuclear program, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said.

Susan Rice, in an interview Sunday morning on National Public Radio’s "All Things Considered," said the United States views Iran’s acquisition of nuclear capability "a grave threat to ourselves, to the region and indeed to Israel."

"The news today confirms what we all have feared and anticipated, which is that Iran has — remains in pursuit of its nuclear program," she said. "There’s no ambiguity about that, and our aim is to combine enhanced pressures, and indeed the potential for direct engagement to try to prevent Iran from taking its program to fruition."

Rice told NPR that America’s interests can best be advanced by "seeking to build bridges and cooperative relationships."

"So we will extend our hand, we will look to others to do the same. But we won’t pick unnecessary battles, we won’t seek confrontation for confrontation’s sake," she said.

Rice said that the United States is committed to maintaining a "very strong relationship" with Israel no matter what kind of government Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu forms.

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