Friday, June 27, 2008
The Post was wrong in saying that Sen. Barack Obama's support for setting aside a precondition for talks with Iran could rupture relations between Europe and the United States ["Europe Fears Obama Might Undercut Progress With Iran," news story, June 22]. High-level European officials involved in nuclear diplomacy with Iran have told me that the American side should drop the precondition that Iran suspend its enrichment and reprocessing-related activities before the United States talks.
Europeans saw the suspension requirement as a way of enticing the Bush administration to join their diplomatic effort. Europeans understood that diplomacy was not likely to succeed without the United States.
The article also suggested that U.N. Security Council resolutions enshrine suspension as a precondition for talks. While the resolutions contain a demand that Iran suspend the activities in question, they do not hold negotiations hostage to that demand. While we are not talking, Iran is getting closer to a nuclear weapons capability. As a result of the policies that President Bush has pursued and that Sen. John McCain would continue if he became president, Iran, not freedom, is on the march. Mr. Obama is right about our need to change course.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
U.S. Senator (D-Del.)
The writer is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.