Old habits die hard.

U.S. Senator John Kerry said on Friday he was willing to go to Tehran to talk to Iranian leaders but would not have time during his current Middle East tour.

“I don’t have time and we were not able to make arrangements in the short timespan we had but I would be willing to go,” he told reporters in Cairo, the first stop on his tour.

Asked if he planned to make a trip later, he said: “At the appropriate time, at some point.”…

He will visit Syria during his trip with fellow Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd.

Assad thinks it’s a super idea. Condi Rice, less so:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday rejected a bipartisan panel’s recommendation that the United States seek the help of Syria and Iran in Iraq, saying the “compensation” required by any deal might be too high. She argued that neither country should need incentives to foster stability in Iraq.

“If they have an interest in a stable Iraq, they will do it anyway,” Rice said in a wide-ranging interview with Washington Post reporters and editors. She said she did not want to trade away Lebanese sovereignty to Syria or allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon as a price for peace in Iraq.

Exit question: does this mean Kerry no longer wants to push Ahmadinejad off a cliff?

Update: Too bad he’s not planning to go now. What a Kodak moment it’d be if he ran into David Duke while he was in town.

Update: Time interviews Ahmadinejad.

When the issue becomes clear, and understood that the Holocaust does not have any relationship with the Palestinian people, then we will have two proposals for the Western and European countries. The first solution is that in the same way that you mounted this regime in the past, you can remove it yourself. You know well that the Holocaust has nothing to do with the Palestinian people. That was just a pretext to create this regime. And it was not a good excuse. Just cease to support it. Don’t use your people’s money to assist this violent regime. This is the best solution. If they do not accept the first solution, then they should allow the nation of Palestine to make their decision about its own fate. Anyone who is a Palestinian citizen, whether they are Christian, Jewish or Muslim, should decide together in a very free referendum. There is no need for war. There is no need for threats or an the atomic bomb either.

Tags: Middle East