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Report: Cheney rejected Iran's offer of concessions in 2003

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But Jon Soltz, an Iraqi war vet who heads the VoteVets Action Fund, says tough measures against Iran won't work.

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[Soltz] said the move could signal a forthcoming strike against Iran or be an attempt to create enough leverage to force Tehran back into talks on its nuclear ambitions.

"There's no question it's a chicken game with Iran," he said. "By us playing more war games with them, it only gives them more reasons to tie us down in Iraq."

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that one of the six Iranian diplomats arrested by the US last week has been released, and Iran's envoy to Iraq has said that the other five will be released "within days."

The Guardian reports that a senior Iraqi official Tuesday criticized the raid and the US position on Iran, which experts are describing as another sign of a growing rift between Iraq and the US about how to deal with Iran. Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told reporters that he does not believe that Iran is a threat to Iraq. Other politicians also criticized the US actions in Mosul.

Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the 130-member Shiite bloc in parliament and one of Iraq's most powerful politicians, [Tuesday] criticized the raid and condemned the detention of the Iranians as an attack on Iraq's sovereignty.

"Regardless of the Iranian position, we consider these actions as incorrect," Mr Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said in an interview with the BBC. "They represent a kind of attack on Iraq's sovereignty, and we hope such things are not repeated."

AP also reports that Mohamed El-Baradei, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, said he was concerned that US sanctions on Iran "could escalate the standoff with Western powers over its suspected weapons program."

Mohamed ElBaradei called for a resumption of negotiations. Only applying pressure, he suggested, could prompt the Islamic republic to follow the path of North Korea, which kicked out U.N. inspectors, pulled out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 2003 and then conducted its first-ever nuclear test last October.

"My priority is to keep Iran inside the system," said the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner, speaking in Paris.

"My worry right now is that each side is sticking to its guns," he said. "The international community is saying 'sanctions or bust.' Iran is saying 'nuclear enrichment capability or bust' and we need somebody to reach out and be able to find a solution."

France is considering sending an envoy to Iran to talk about regional issues other than the nuclear issue. Mr. El-Baradei, who was meeting with France's foreign minister on Thursday, said, "Any effort by anybody to get the Iranians and the Europeans – and the Americans in particular – engaged would be something I welcome."