[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/21/art.lugarsotu0621.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. Richard Lugar said Sunday that the Obama administration should sit down with Iran in hopes of eliminating Iran's nuclear program."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – After a week of political protests by Iranians calling into question the legitimacy of the country's leadership, a leading U.S. Republican said Sunday that the United States should still engage in diplomatic dialogue with the Middle Eastern nation.
"We would sit down because our objective is to eliminate the nuclear program that is in Iran," Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.
But Lugar, ranking Republican on the foreign relations committee, also said he believes Iranian interest in high-level talks with the U.S. is "totally improbable."
"The reason is: This regime now is under fire," Lugar told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "This is not a stable regime in which two people suddenly sit down with the United States. They may not be able to impose their will."
Lugar also said the unrest may open a door for the United States.
"We really have to get into the nuclear weapons. We have to get into terrorism of Iran in other areas of the Middle East. Now we have new opportunity in which we might very well say, 'We want communication with Iran. We want openness of the press. We don't want to have to use Twitter. We want the press on the ground.'"
"In order to have any kind of a relationship, we need to be able to talk to people, hear from people, argue with people," Lugar added.
Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.