U.S. considers softer position on Iran

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — Reconsidering its hard line on
Iran, the United States is weighing the idea of rewarding the
Islamic republic if it gives up technology that can be used for
nuclear arms, diplomats and U.S. officials said yesterday.

The diplomats, who spoke to The Associated Press from Vienna and
another European capital, said senior European negotiators directly
answerable to their foreign ministers planned to go to Washington
this week for discussions with top U.S. State Department officials
on a common Iran strategy.

“Discussions are ongoing between the Americans and the
Europeans on how to address the nuclear question in Iran,” a
diplomat said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi offered European
governments assurances yesterday in Tehran that his country would
never produce nuclear bombs if Tehran’s right to enrich
uranium was recognized.

“The time has come for Europe to take a step forward and
suggest that our legitimate right for complete use of nuclear
energy is recognized (in return for) assurances that our program
will not be diverted toward weapons,” Kharrazi said.



NATO planning to speed up mobilization

Struggling to muster more troops for Afghanistan and take on an
expanded training mission in Iraq, NATO defense ministers will aim
this week to advance reforms that would let the alliance mobilize
faster for far-flung operations.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to take a
lead in urging more speed, particularly to get extra European
troops into Afghanistan. He will huddle today and tomorrow with the
other ministers for NATO’s first meeting in one of the seven
eastern European nations that joined the alliance in April.

“NATO, in our view needs to move faster, with a greater
degree of commitment and political will to help the Afghan
government,” Nicholas Burns, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said
ahead of the meeting at alliance headquarters in Brussels,

Before flying by helicopter to the NATO meeting site, Rumsfeld
met with Romanian government leaders in Bucharest. At a news
conference there, he deflected a reporter’s question on
whether NATO would get military trainers to Iraq in time to make a
difference in providing security for the elections.



Flu shots delivered straight to nursing homes

The government moved yesterday to direct scarce remaining flu
shots straight to pediatricians, nursing homes and other places
that care for the patients who need them most.

But only a fraction of the 22.4 million doses that maker Aventis
Pasteur has yet to ship can be diverted to areas with the biggest
shortages. And officials acknowledged yesterday that even if
planned rationing goes well, there will be high-risk patients who
struggle to get shots but can’t find them.

“We’re sorry for the people who need flu vaccine and
may not be able to get it this year,” said Julie Gerberding,
director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“But we will take every step that we can take to get an
equitable distribution of vaccine as quickly as we can.”



Homeland security dept. favors new cyber chief

Reversing its decision under pressure from lawmakers and the
technology industry, the Department of Homeland Security said
yesterday it supports appointing a new senior cybersecurity chief
higher in its organization with broader authority and more control
over spending.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said he supports the new
position during a meeting with the National Infrastructure Advisory
Council, private experts from the banking, transportation, energy
and manufacturing industries.

Ridge told advisers he intends to elevate the cybersecurity job
to that of a new assistant secretary two steps below him in the
chain of command, said Paul Kurtz, a former White House
cybersecurity adviser who attended the meeting.


— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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