Sunday, June 21, 2009

Top Republican Senator Richard Lugar: US should sit down with Iran despite post-election turmoil

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Republican senator says the United States should still sit down with Iran, despite postelection turmoil in Tehran. Sen. Richard Lugar says the U.S. has a goal of containing Iran's nuclear ambition. He says the two countries should meet even though there are protests in Tehran over this month's presidential vote.

Lugar, R-Ind., says President Barack Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should be ready to meet with their Iranian counterparts. Lugar spoke to CNN's "State of the Union."

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WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., says the United States should "sit down" with Iran to negotiate an end to its nuclear program. Echoing a sentiment expressed last week by President Barack Obama that he would continue to seek a dialogue with Iran even in the face of a crackdown on government political opponents, Lugar said on CNN's "State of the Union" news program Sunday that he, too, would want to continue direct talks.

"We would sit down because our objective is to eliminate the nuclear program that is in Iran," said Lugar, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Of course, we really have to get into the nuclear weapons. ... Now we have a new opportunity in which we might very well say we want communication with Iran."

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