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Some bad news about Iran's nuclear program: In late May, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a U.N.-affiliated watchdog group, reported "serious concerns" that Iran was hiding information that may reveal this terrorist-supporting nation has the means to develop nuclear warheads.

Since 2005, world leaders have been increasingly anxious about Iran's nuclear weapons after its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, commented that Israel should be "wiped off the map." That threat is real. Iran hid its nuclear program for years, and since 2003 it has failed to provide total assurance to the IAEA that it is not developing nuclear warheads. It has also refused to stop uranium enrichment, as the U.N. has demanded. (Iran maintains that its uranium enrichment is for generating electricity.)

In recent months, the likelihood that the U.S. or Israel would bomb Iran's nuclear plants to stop weapons development has diminished. Now the urgent question is: Should there be direct, high-level talks with Iran about nukes? Speaking in Israel, President Bush said, "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along." He compared such direct talks to diplomatic appeasement of the Nazis before World War II.

Western leaders, including Bush, are using public pressure, political isolation, and sanctions to convince Iran's leaders to end its nukes program. This top-down game isn't doing the job.

But Christians are influencing Iran from the bottom up. We should support diplomatic talks at the appropriate level and back aggressive efforts to keep nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands. Christians have an additional mission of particular concern for ...

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July 2008

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