The US State Department has once again recognized Iran as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, accusing the Islamic Republic of aiding extremists throughout the Middle East, particularly in Iraq.
Although the designation is not new, the release of the department's annual global survey of terrorism in which it is contained comes at a delicate moment - just days ahead of a possible meeting between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iran's top diplomat.
Rice could meet Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki when they both attend a weekend conference of Iraq's neighbors aimed at boosting stability in a nation where the report says terrorist attacks, some backed by Iran, killed more than 13,000 civilians in 2006.
"Should the foreign minister of Iran bump into Condi Rice, Condi won't be rude," President George W. Bush said Monday. "She's not a rude person. I'm sure she'll be polite."