US responds to Iranian missile tests with commitment to diplomacy

While keeping the military option on the table, the Bush administration is counting heavily on diplomacy including direct talks with Tehran as the best way to wean Iran away from building nuclear weapons. Iran's missile tests, one of which evidently was a long-range weapon that could decimate Israel and American military facilities in the region if fitted with a nuclear warhead, brought a relatively calm response from the United States The White House urged Iran to refrain from any more tests. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the tests were more evidence of the need for a US missile defense system. Testifying to congressional committees, Undersecretary of State William J. Burns said the United States would go ahead jointly with Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany to promote a deal to trade one suspension for another. That is, if Iran would suspend uranium enrichment, harsh sanctions pressing on the Iranian economy would be suspended as well.