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Iran offers to talk nukes with European Union as sanctions take toll / ´Iranians may be changing their mind,´ sez U.S. National Intel director (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS) BY HELEN KENNEDY 02/17/12)Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/iran-offers-talk-nukes-european-union-sanctions-toll-article-1.1024165 NEW YORK DAILY NEWS NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Facing renewed sanctions, Iran is offering to resume talks over its nuclear program.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to the European Union offering to restart discussions on “fundamental steps for sustained co-operation.”

“The Iranians may be changing their mind,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate, saying he believes sanctions may be affecting Iran’s internal politics by causing popular unrest.

“If the regime then feels threatened in terms of its stability and tenure, the thought is that that could change their policy,” he said.

The Obama administration slapped new sanctions on Iran Thursday, accusing Tehran of supporting terrorism, abusing human rights and fueling the Syrian government’s crackdown on dissent.

The new sanctions bar officials with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security from travelling to the United States and bars US companies from dealing with the Ministry.

Iran’s offer for new talks came a day after a defiant Ahmadinejad announced Iran had a “new generation” of centrifuges capable of rapidly enriching uranium — a claim some non-proliferation experts dismissed as bluster.

It also came as Israel sent a letter to the United Nations officially accusing Iran of launching the attacks on its diplomats in India, Georgia and Thailand this week.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Clapper and Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess painted a picture of global tension in limbo:

They said they believed Iran has not yet decided to build a nuclear weapon, and Israel has not yet decided whether to strike Iran to stop any weapons-building.

Clapper said Iran is unlikely to start a conflict because Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would not risk it.

“We believe that the decision would be made by the Supreme Leader himself and he would base that decision on a cost-benefit analysis,” Clapper said.

“I don’t think he’d want a nuclear weapon at any price.”

He said there were concrete signs that Iran had not yet begun work on a bomb. “I think they are keeping themselves in a position to make that decision, but there are certain things they have not yet done,” Clapper said.

Burgess said Iran certainly wasn’t ready to quit trying to get a weapon.

“We assess that Tehran is not close to agreeing to abandoning its nuclear program,” he told the Senate.

Burgess and

Clapper said they do not believe that Israel has decided to strike Iran - at least not yet.

“To the best of our knowledge Israel has not decided to attack Iran,” Burgess said. (© Copyright 2012 NYDailyNews.com. 02/17/12)

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