BUSH AND IRAN….David Sanger provides a look at what’s behind President Bush’s supposed change of heart on holding talks with Iran:

Few of his aides expect that Iran’s leaders will meet Mr. Bush’s main condition: that Iran first re-suspend all of its nuclear activities, including shutting down every centrifuge that could add to its small stockpile of enriched uranium….And while the Europeans and the Japanese said they were elated by Mr. Bush’s turnaround, some participants in the drawn-out nuclear drama questioned whether this was an offer intended to fail, devised to show the extent of Iran’s intransigence.

….”Cheney was dead set against it,” said one former official….But three officials who were involved in the most recent iteration of that debate said Mr. Cheney and others stepped aside ? perhaps because they read Mr. Bush’s body language, or perhaps because they believed Iran would scuttle the effort….In the end, said one former official who has kept close tabs on the debate, “it came down to convincing Cheney and others that if we are going to confront Iran, we first have to check off the box” of trying talks.

They sure sound serious about trying to avoid war, don’t they? They’re going to “check off the box” and everything.

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