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'Facing Iran': The U.S. Really Is Playing a Part

Tuesday, November 16, 2004; Page A24

The Nov. 9 editorial "Facing Iran, With Europe" missed a key element of the European negotiations with Iran. It said that the United States "is watching ineffectually from the sidelines," but is that really what is going on?

Consider Libya's move to end its nuclear program, which was brought on by the Bush doctrine of preemption and the fact that -- as the editorial points out -- many in the administration are calling for "regime change" in Iran. With Washington taking such a tough stance on states that harbor terrorists, we indeed are a catalyst for the negotiations in Paris. In this sense, we are working with the Europeans. It is the "good cop, bad cop" technique, and we are performing our role well, as are the Europeans.

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The Post is right to call for increased cooperation on dealing with Iran and to underscore the urgent need for an acceptable solution to Tehran's nuclear ambitions. However, to think that we are absent from the negotiating table in Paris is to misapprehend the nuances of international relations.

RICHARD ZIELINSKI

Washington


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