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Albright: Iran should not be in isolation forever

WASHINGTON, January 22 (Itar-Tass) - US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright believes that such a country as Iran should not be in isolation forever. She said this in a speech to the Centre for National Policy on Thursday, motivating this view by Iran's size, importance and geographic position.

Albright confirmed that the United States had shown much interest in the news that Mohammad Khatami had been elected Iranian president. Washington analysts arrived at the conclusion that Khatami had been able to gain the support of broad sections of the public in the election struggle. US strategists believe that there was promise in the fact that Khatami had support among women and young people.

Albright acknowledged that this prompted her to respond to the Iranian leader's initiative expressed in a CNN interview in January 1998, when Khatami said that Iran is ready for a dialogue with the United States, "a dialogue between cilivisations and cultures". Somewhat later the US secretaty of state delivered a speech that, she said now, largely mirrored the Iranian president's remarks.

By all indications, Washington's hopes for this indirect exchange of messages have not been justified. Developments clearly showed, Albright said, that Khatami is now living through difficult times as regards politics and that a confrontation of internal factions and factors is now on in Iran.

Albright confirmed that the United States is prepared for a dialogue with Iran, sanctioned and recognised, in whose framework both governments could raise problems evoking their concern. Without saying whether this readiness is reciprocated by Teheran, Albright noted that the United States so far encourages the possibility of individual and group exchanges between people of the two countries.


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