Thursday, February 05, 2009

Other news...

Iran cancelled a meeting with Congressman Howard Berman.
A senior Iranian official at the last minute canceled a meeting with the Jewish chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) was to have met in December in Bahrain with Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament and formerly the top Iranian nuclear negotiator, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Larijani pulled out just before Berman was to travel, the Journal reported; it was not clear why. Berman had informed the Bush White House and the Obama transition team of his plans, the newspaper said.[...]

Berman, like his predecessor as chairman, the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), favors directly engaging Iran while maintaining its isolation until it ends its suspected nuclear weapons program.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Iran.
Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Iran of "consequences" unless it cooperates with United Nations nuclear inspectors.

"If Tehran does not comply with United Nations Security Council and IAEA mandates, there must be consequences," the U.S. secretary of state said Tuesday after meeting with her German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Clinton was referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog; the agency has slammed Iran for frustrating its inspections.

President Barack Obama has said he favors increased direct contact with Iran, but his advisers have also spoken of intensifying economic sanctions.

How to deal with Iran also came up in a meeting when Clinton discussed how to deal with Iran with her British counterpart, David Miliband.

Iran's launch this week of a satellite intensified concerns about its suspected nuclear weapons program.

"Iran's development of a space launch vehicle (SLV) capable of putting a satellite into orbit establishes the technical basis from which Iran could develop long-range ballistic missile systems," State Department spokesman David Wood said in a release that said the launch triggered "deep concern."

"Many of the technological building blocks involved in SLVs are the same as those required to develop long-range ballistic missiles."
I applaud DIRECTV for not running an anti-Israel advertisement.

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