September 16, 2008

Five Former U.S. Secretaries of State Call for Talks With Iran

Five former U.S. secretaries of state call for talks with Iran

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Five former U.S. secretaries of state said on Monday the next American administration should engage in talks with Iran to stop the country from developing nuclear weapons program.

The five former secretaries of state, including Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, James Baker and Henry Kissinger, made the appeal during a forum hosted by the George Washington University.

Albright, who was secretary of state in the second Clinton administration, said: "I believe we need to engage with Iran. I think the whole point is you try to engage and deal with countries that you have problems with."

"I agree with Madeleine, and I suspect my other colleagues, that we should try to talk to them," Powell, who was secretary of state from 2001-2005, said.

"Frankly the military options here are very poor. We don't want to go down that route," said Christopher, who was secretary of state in the first Clinton administration.

Kissinger, who was secretary of state from 1973-1977, also favored negotiations with Iran. For Baker, who worked for senior president George H.W. Bush, suggested that talking to Iran might be one way to get the message across.

The United States has accused Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons programs. However, Iran has denied the charges and said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

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