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Bill Richardson calls for diplomacy towards Iran

Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson thinks that the Bush administration should not take military action against Iran before it gets out of Iraq.

"I believe it would be enormously unwise for the Bush administration to start another war before ending this tragic war we're in today and it does sound like the administration is ramping up. You can just see it," he said.

Richardson, also the governor of New Mexico, pointed to a 76-22 vote in the Senate last week on a resolution urging the State Department to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.

Hillary Rodham Clinton was the only Democratic senator who is running for president to vote for the measure. Richardson criticized her vote.

"Calling them names, labeling them terrorists, drawing up military options is just making the situation worse and inflaming the Muslim world," he said.

U.S.-Iran tensions are running high over U.S. allegations that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and supplying Iraq's Shiite militias with weapons that have killed U.S. troops. Iran denies both claims.

"Once again the administration seems to be preparing the American people for a ramp-up in action, and it would be, I believe, another disastrous foreign policy decision," Richardson said.

Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador, said that as president he would use his diplomatic experience to engage Muslim clerics, students, university professors and business leaders in Iran. He would leave Iranian President Ahmadinejad out of the loop, calling him "a minor player" in that nation's politics.

"Forty percent of the vote in Iran in that last presidential election went to a moderate candidate," he said. "And I do believe that it makes sense to engage in a dialogue with Iran, knowing that it's going to be very difficult."

Richardson appeared on "Face the Nation" on the CBS television network.

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