HOPEFUL

Iran Initiates Nuke Negotiation

It was only a 200-word letter, but Iranian officials sent word to Western powers initiating a dialogue about their nuclear program. U.S. and European officials welcomed the overture and expressed cautious optimism on Friday, saying this a good first step. The move came as Europe began tightening economic pressure on Iran and was working toward shutting off Iranian banks from making international transfers. Iran, which had threatened to block important shipping lanes in retaliation, has insisted that its nuclear program is peaceful, but the international community has concerns the regime is trying to build nuclear weapons.