THAWS

U.S., Iran Holding Direct Talks

Turns out Obama's message to Iranians last month calling for a new era of U.S.-Iran relations wasn't just lip service: The State Department has announced the Obama administration will "directly" participate in group talks with Iran aimed at ending its nuclear program. The move is Obama's latest shift away from Bush policy. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has welcomed the new diplomatic overtures—with one caveat: "The Iranian people would welcome a hand extended to it if the hand is truly based on honesty," he said, adding "the change should be in action, not words." Since Obama took office, Ahmadinejad has kept his anti-American demagoguery to a minimum.