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How to silence that Iran war drumbeat

War is not inevitable. Bold, transparent diplomacy can work.

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Increasing signs that either Israel or the US might attack Iran before President Bush leaves office have many people in Europe, the Middle East, and around the world on edge.

Whether the rumblings are real or overinflated rumors, it's time to reverse any momentum that could unleash a potentially calamitous Middle East conflict, killing thousands, sending oil prices to $200 a barrel and beyond, and accentuating global recession.

After talks with Mr. Bush on his tour through Europe, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown didn't mention war explicitly, but did say that European states would agree to impose new financial sanctions on Tehran. Bush noted that "all options are on the table," and that the ball was in Tehran's court.

Tehran, meanwhile, seems to continue to ignore the threat of sanctions.

Beyond official statements, the latest clues to war parallel proposed and actual sanctions against Iran. Immediately after a high-profile visit to Washington earlier this month, Israeli cabinet minister Saul Mofaz publicly called an Israeli attack on Iran "unavoidable" unless Iran reined in its nuclear activities.

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