Iran FM walks out of dinner when seated near Rice

Iran's foreign minister walked out of a dinner of diplomats where he was seated directly across from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on the pretext that the female violinist entertaining the gathering was dressed too revealingly. "I dont know which woman he was afraid of, the woman in the red dress or the secretary of state," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday. The dinner episode Thursday night prefectly revealed how hard it was to bring together the top diplomats of the two rival nations at this regional conference. The Iraqi government had hoped for a breakthrough meeting between Rice and Iran's Manouchehr Mottaki. Instead, their only direct contact was a wary exchange of pleasantries over lunch Thursday.