The New York Times reports the Obama administration is
considering tolerating Iran's nuclear activities at the same time it
would hold talks with Tehran.
The New York Times said Tuesday Washington and its European allies are working on proposals that would mark a major shift in strategy from that of former President George W. Bush. The previous administration had demanded Tehran end all of its enrichment activities before entering into formal talks.
The newspaper says the U.S. and Europe would press Iran to gradually open its nuclear program to wider inspections, but would allow Tehran to continue enriching uranium for some period during the talks.
In Washington, a State Department spokesman said the administration would not discuss details until a review of U.S. Iran policy is complete.
Six major world powers, including the U.S., said last week they would invite Iran to join in discussions on its nuclear program. Iranian media quoted the nation's top nuclear negotiator Monday as saying Tehran is open to the talks.
Iran and the West are at odds over Tehran's nuclear program, which some countries believe may have a military component. Iran says all its atomic activities are for peaceful, civilian use.
The president's aides say it is not clear how long he will tolerate Iran's uranium enrichment program. But the Times reports that European officials say there is general agreement Iran will not accept the kind of demands made by the Bush administration.
The newspaper reported the proposals, if adopted, will likely attract fierce criticism from the U.S. president's conservative critics and new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A senior Israeli official says anonymously that Israel may revive its efforts to take out Iran's underground nuclear plant at Natanz if Mr. Obama does not "completely end" Iran's uranium production efforts.