Smart offer:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made Iran another offer it could refuse last week. Speaking in Davos, Rice said the United States didn’t want Iran as a “permanent enemy” and that better relations were possible if Tehran would give up its nuclear fuel program.

Iran has already rejected similar nebulous and highly conditional offers from the White House and it seemed unimpressed this time. It is likely to have the same non-reaction to a third sanctions resolution being considered by the UN Security Council. Even if the resolution is adopted, European, Asian and Gulf states should make their own effort to tighten economic screws. Even as it threw its weight behind a new sanctions resolution, Russia delivered more fuel for Iran’s nuclear power reactor at Bushehr.

As for incentives, that’s Washington’s department. What is needed is a credible gesture, like sending a high-level envoy to Tehran with a concrete list of diplomatic and economic rewards, including a timetable for restoring full diplomatic relations with the United States. It would send a strong message to Iran’s citizens about the folly of their leaders’ course.

It would give Bush the credibility to demand that the Russians, the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Saudis, and the list goes on, do more to stop enabling Tehran. — International Herald Tribune