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Richardson on Iran

From NBC's Jenny Anzelmo

today spoke before the Center for National Policy in DC, where he outlined his views on Iran and the Middle East. His overall message was to engage Iran in direct talks with no preconditions and with no illusions. He believes that with the help of other nations -- especially Russia and China, which have more leverage with the country -- the US can begin to integrate Iran into the global community.

"In short the message to the Iranians must be clear: Work with the international community and you will be safe and prosperous. Continue to defy the international community and you will suffer." He also said that "no constructive dialogue with Iran is possible until we break the vicious cycle of suspicion and hostile, incendiary rhetoric. If we want Iran to improve its behavior, we would do well to stop threatening to attack them. And we should not fund Iranian émigré groups in the delusional expectation that they will somehow be able to topple the regime." 

Richardson applauded Condi Rice for "starting to break this ice." But he then went on to take a stab at the Bush Administration for calling Iran an "axis of evil" -- saying that would only continue to fuel hostility between the US and Iran. In order to move forward, Richardson said the US must "acknowledge this difficult shared history" with Iran, while encouraging the Iranians "to come out of the cold, and to build a more constructive relationships not just with the us, but also with the international community."