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Invasion of Iran 'Not on the Agenda' Says New US Secretary of State

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says a U.S. attack on Iran is, "not on the agenda," despite Washington's repeated criticism of Iran's nuclear program and human rights record. Secretary Rice made those comments Friday during the start of an eight-day tour of Europe and the Middle East.

Secretary Rice met with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw Friday. She condemned Iran's human rights record as "abysmal, " but denied Washington had any plans to launch a military attack on Iran.

However, she suggested the record of democratic elections in Afghanistan and Iraq -- two nations where the U.S. did intervene militarily -- could spark "regime change" from within Iran.

The U.S. secretary said, "Iran is not immune to the changes that are going on in this region. I think the spectacle of Iranians, or Afghans, voting in Iran for a free Afghan election, Iraqis voting in Iran for a free Iraqi election, has got to have an effect on an Iranian people who have long been denied the right to do the same."

Mister Straw defended Washington's skepticism about Iran, claiming that Tehran has not lived up to its international obligations to provide "objective guarantees" about the purposes of its nuclear program.

In his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, U.S. President George Bush called Iran "the world's primary state sponsor of terror."

Iran has repeatedly denied Washington's claims that it is using its nuclear program to develop a nuclear weapon.

France, Britain, and Germany will begin a third round of talks with Iran in Geneva Monday, in an effort to persuade Iran to permanently end its nuclear activities.