U.S. rejects Iran’s proposal for talks


U.S. rejects Iran's proposal for talks

The State Department says the Iranian offer given to Western diplomats doesn't address the main issue, Tehran's nuclear program.

By Paul Richter

9:27 PM CDT, September 10, 2009

Reporting from Washington

The State Department rejected Iran's latest proposal for international talks Thursday in another sign of trouble for the Obama administration's top-priority effort to engage Tehran in nuclear negotiations.

A five-page Iranian proposal distributed to foreign diplomats Wednesday "was not really responsive to our greatest concernwhich is obviously Iran's nuclear program," said P.J. Crowley, the senior State Department spokesman.

At the same time, Crowley said, "We remain willing to engage Iran."

The administration faces an approaching deadline on whether to pursue a diplomatic opening with Iran, which was one of President Obama's trademark foreign policy ideas during his presidential campaign.

This article continues at chicagotribune.com

Senate Judiciary Committee Hears Testimony About Mexican Drug Cartels

So far, it has been a slow week on Capitol Hill. As of this post, the House of Representatives has considered five resolutions naming post offices.

Later this week, the House is expected to consider the GIVE act, which would expand funding for the Americorps public service program. 

The District Voting Rights Act remains stalled in the House due to an amendment that would repeal the district's strict gun laws. It does not appear a compromise is coming soon.

The Senate continued consideration of an omnibus public lands bill and voted unanimously to end automatic pay raises for members of Congress. But the AP reports the measure is unlikely to come up for a vote in the House.

So what else of note was going on then? Our committee meeting of note for the day was the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs hearing on "law enforcement responses to Mexican drug cartels."

In case you haven't been following it lately, the situation in Mexico is bad. Mexican President Felipe Calderรณn has cracked down on drug cartels, and the drug cartels have responded violently. How violently? Here's an excerpt from the Washington Post:

"Mexican officials say the violence killed 6,290 people last year and more than 1,000 in the first eight weeks of 2009. Warring drug cartels are blamed for more than 560 kidnappings in Phoenix in 2007 and the first half of 2008, as well as killings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama."

After the jump, Arizona's attorney general and federal officials offer suggestions on combating Mexican drug gangs.

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