SOME PROGRESS, FINALLY. The United States, after much pushing, has finally acceded to engaging in direct talks with Iran, on the condition that it abandon its nuclear enrichment activities. This is the necessary next step in the diplomatic dance, but marks a dramatic departure from the Bush administration's approach toward Iran over the past six years. With the world looking to Iran for a counter-offer, Iran will now either have to chose the engagement with the United States it says it wants or else be perceived as the intransigent party in this conflict. Either way, the offer takes some of the pressure off the United States to resolve the impasse and puts it back where it rightly belongs, on Iran. Laura Rozen, who is a must-read on this as on so many other issues, has more from Chris Nelson over at War and Piece.

--Garance Franke-Ruta