Middle East

Iran's Rise Prompts New Push for Mideast Peace

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President Bush is trying to revive the Middle East peace process with a conference early next week in Annapolis, Md. Israeli and Palestinian envoys and representatives of dozens of other countries have been invited.

The last time such a push was made was during the Clinton administration: The search for peace in the Middle East dominated Bill Clinton's final year in office.

Martin Indyk was ambassador to Israel at the time and continued as ambassador through the first months of the Bush administration.

Indyk tells Renee Montagne that Iran's growing influence in the region in the wake of U.S. failure in Iraq has led Bush to restart Middle East talks.

He says Iran's power is "deeply threatening" to Sunni Arab states. As a result, they and Israel feel a common threat from Iran.

Indyk, who is also director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, says some Arab nations and Israel also share a common urgency to make progress on the Palestinian issue before extremists backed by Iran take over not only Gaza, but the West Bank as well.



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