- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2009

DIPLOMACY

Clinton: Window closing on Iran

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States has no illusions that Iran will accept overtures to return to negotiations about its nuclear program and will not wait much longer for Tehran to respond.

Both Mrs. Clinton and National Security Adviser James L. Jones said in interviews aired Sunday that Washington has little choice but to deal with the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, regardless of U.S. feelings about charges he was re-elected in a fraudulent election and sympathy for the thousands who have protested the outcome.

Mrs. Clinton said the United States would re-evaluate its efforts to entice Iran back to the negotiating table in September.

“We are under no illusions. We were under no illusions before their elections that we can get the kind of engagement we are seeking,” she said in an interview with CNN’s “GPS.”

“The president has also said, look, we need to take stock of this in September. If there is a response, it needs to be on a fast track. We’re not going to keep the window open forever,” she said.

Mr. Jones echoed Mrs. Clinton’s assessment that Washington had little choice, at this point, except to deal with Mr. Ahmadinejad, who was sworn in to a second term last week.

“We have to deal with the figures of authority that are in position,” Mr. Jones said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

AFGHANISTAN

Sen. Graham takes swipe at Rumsfeld

A Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee said more troops are needed in Afghanistan and that the United States must not “Rumsfeld” the war.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, in an appearance Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” referred to Bush administration Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Mr. Rumsfeld was criticized for not putting more troops in Iraq to secure the country after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Mr. Graham said that if NATO allies don’t commit more troops and money in Afghanistan, then the United States must because Afghanistan is central to the fight against terrorism.

In Mr. Graham’s words: “We made mistakes in Iraq. Let’s not ‘Rumsfeld’ Afghanistan. Let’s not do this thing on the cheap.”

NORTH KOREA

U.S. willing to talk with Pyongyang

The Obama administration said Sunday it is willing to hold direct talks with North Korea over its nuclear weapons if it first resumes international negotiations.

Despite reports of his declining health, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il seems fully in charge of the reclusive communist country, White House National Security Adviser James L. Jones said.

Mr. Jones said former President Bill Clinton passed no official messages and made no promises during his mission last week to bring home two American journalists convicted of illegally entering North Korea and held in prison.

Making the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, Mr. Jones added few details. He did say Mr. Clinton “was able to convey his personal views of the issue of the moment, which is making sure nuclear weapons do not appear on the Korean Peninsula.”

FRAUD

Scammers target ‘cash for clunkers’

The Federal Trade Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are warning consumers to be alert to a proliferation of Web sites and fake e-mails purporting to “help” them take advantage of the “cash for clunkers” program or “pre-register” to ensure they will be able to participate in the popular program.

Reports are coming in about scammers offering to sign people up or give them a voucher in return for a deposit or “processing fee.” Others say they will guarantee people a spot in the program but they’ll need their Social Security, credit card and/or checking account number.

Fraud busters say there is no pre-registering or guaranteed spots. They say people should go first to the only official government site for the Car Allowance Rebate System - www.cars.gov - for dependable information.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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