Israel unsurprised by Obama's willingness to talk to Iran

Israel said Tuesday it was not taken by surprise by US President Barak Obama's announcement that his administration was looking for opportunities to launch direct talks with Iran. One official said that Israeli conversations over the last few weeks with the new administration - from Obama himself to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East envoy George Mitchell - had dealt with the Iranian situation. "We have expressed our concern that the Iranian tactic is to talk, talk, talk, while continuing to spin the centrifuges at the same time," one official said. "The Americans are equally aware of this Iranian strategy." The official sidestepped the question of whether Jerusalem told Washington point-blank that engagement with Iran was a mistake. "President Obama has in every public and private utterance reiterated his total and complete opposition to Iran going nuclear," the official said. "The administration is in the process of formulating its policy of how to pursue that goal, but on the goal itself there is no debate."