Reuters: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on
Thursday U.S. and European views on how to deal with Iran's nuclear program are converging, a sign Washington may be closer to backing incentives for Tehran. "I think we are really coming to a common view of how to proceed," Rice said when asked about European diplomatic efforts to persuade Iran to give up its suspected nuclear arms program. Reuters

MEXICO CITY - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday U.S. and European views on how to deal with Iran's nuclear program are converging, a sign Washington may be closer to backing incentives for Tehran.

"I think we are really coming to a common view of how to proceed," Rice said when asked about European diplomatic efforts to persuade Iran to give up its suspected nuclear arms program.

"We are examining what means we might be able to use to contribute to the (European) efforts at success. ... We are looking for ways to more actively support that diplomacy," Rice said as she flew to Mexico.

Britain, France and Germany want the United States to support Iranian entry into the World Trade Organization and the sale of aircraft spare parts to Tehran to give Iran an incentive to give up its suspected pursuit of nuclear arms.

The United States can effectively block Iran from joining the WTO and from importing aircraft parts with substantial U.S. content, making U.S. support vital if Iran is to get either incentive.

While deeply skeptical the diplomacy will work, U.S. officials have said they want to give it the best chance of success and also to protect themselves from blame if it fails.

The United States accuses Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful power generation.

"I want to be very clear that this is really not an issue of what people should be giving to Iran. This is an issue ... of keeping the spotlight on Iran, which ought to be living up to its international obligations," Rice added.

Signs that the United States might back incentives for Iran first emerged last month during President Bush's visit to Europe, a trip in which Washington tried to mend fences with European allies who had opposed the Iraq war.