Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bush seen resisting calls to toughen Iran policy

Reuters has this report for all those who are waiting for a stronger, more focused policy on Iran to appear in president Bush's State of the Union address tonight:

WASHINGTON -- Despite his push for democracy in the Middle East, President George W. Bush is not expected to involve the United States in pressing more vigorously for political change in Iran, according to Republicans who have been urging a stronger approach.

Bush will offer words of support to Iranians who want greater freedom in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, even as U.S. diplomats argue for sanctions against the Islamic republic because of its nuclear program.

But Republicans advocating a more muscular policy toward Iran said they expect no new initiatives, such as boosting funding for pro-democracy and civil society groups in Iran, in Bush's speech. ``This is a policy that has a future and always will, and never a present'' because it is hard to do and requires "the kind of imagination that isn't there'' among U.S. officials, said Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy at the American Enterprise Institute.