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Iran, U.S. leaning toward talks?

Recent events suggest both Tehran and Washington may be willing to engage in dialogue.

Diplomacy: Gen. David Petraeus testified May 22 before the Senate Armed Services committee. If he takes over Central Command, he would have greater say in Iran policy.

Susan Walsh/AP

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The United States and Iran may be sworn enemies, but both Washington and Tehran have recently put out feelers suggesting that talks rather than confrontation may top each side's agenda.

Last week, Gen. David Petraeus told Congress that as commander of US forces in the Middle East and Central Asia, he would recommend a comprehensive approach to Iran that would "engage by use of the whole of government" the regime in Tehran.

General Petraeus, who is President Bush's nominee to head US Central Command – a strategically crucial swath stretching from the Middle East and across Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan to Pakistan – aired his preference for diplomacy at the same time that Iran proposed a wide-ranging dialogue with the international community.

In a mid-May letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki proposed a wide-ranging package of issues for discussion with the UN Security Council, including Iran's nuclear program, and said Iran is prepared to seek "real and serious cooperation among the concerned parties."

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