U.S. to drop precondition for Iran nuclear talks

The U.S. and E.U. will no longer require Iran to stop uranium enrichment before diplomatic talks can begin, the Guardian reports. This marks a dramatic departure from the Bush administration, which wouldn’t meet with Iran unless it agreed to stop uranium enrichment.

The old policy was a penalty for Iran’s non-cooperation with the international community. But the penalty didn’t make Iran stop its development of nuclear technology, and served to prevent diplomatic meetings.

Though Iran claims that it isn’t pursuing nuclear weapons, its acceleration of uranium enrichment means it is closer to being able to build them.

Now is a strategically critical moment for diplomatic talks with Iran. Its increase in enriched uranium has both increased Iran’s leverage in negotiations and drawn the alarm of Israel.

The Israeli president, Shimon Peres, in a radio interview on Sunday, urged the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to enter into the talks proposed by President Obama. If Ahmadinejad failed to back down over the nuclear issue, “we’ll strike him”, Peres said.

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