US state department’s nominated No. 2 and incoming Middle East commander reply to senators’ demand to hold talks with Iran

Sen. Chuck Hagel asked John Negroponte if he thinks the US is edging towards a military confrontation with Tehran. The incoming deputy secretary of state replied that while diplomacy is preferred, other possibilities are not ruled out. The exchange took place at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Wednesday, Jan. 30. Negroponte said Syria is letting 40-75 foreign fighters cross its border into Iraq each month and Iran is providing lethal help to insurgents fighting US forces in Iraq. Neither is helping promote stability and peace in Iraq.
“I would not want to say never with respect to a high-level dialogue with either of these two countries, but that’s the position as I understand it at this time, said Negroponte.
In a separate hearing, Adm. William Fallon told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran wants to limit America’s influence in the region. “They have not been helpful in Iraq. …as they grow their military capabilities, we’re going to have to pay close attention to what they do…” he said.

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