Washington, DC -- In response to the news that the Bush Administration will dispatch Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns to Geneva to join multinational talks on Iran’s nuclear program, Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today:

“Stopping Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is our most urgent strategic challenge, and it is encouraging that the Administration is sending a high-level envoy to join these talks. I hope this will evolve into a new approach to dealing with Iran, one that emphasizes direct, unconditional engagement with Tehran on the entire range of issues that divide us – but one that is also based on rock solid assurances from Russia, China, members of the EU, and other key states that they will support crippling multilateral sanctions if Iran refuses to negotiate in good faith and to suspend its nuclear enrichment program, as the UN Security Council has demanded, within a specified time period.”
Undersecretary Burns discussed U.S.-Iran policy last week at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Click here to read Chairman Berman’s opening statement.

A Webcast of the entire hearing is available at www.foreignaffairs.house.gov