||[FREE IRAN Project] In The Spirit Of Cyrus The Great
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Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico
|Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:49 pm Post subject: Countering The Iranian Nuclear Threat ( Essential reading!)
|Countering The Iranian Nuclear Threat
Robert G. Joseph, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
Remarks at the Annual Dinner Greater Washington Area Council for the
American-Israel Public Affairs Committee
February 1, 2006
Late last year, the British Museum sponsored a major exhibit entitled "The Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia." The exhibition underscored the greatness of the Persian nation founded over 2500 years ago. Greatness not just in military might, but in wealth, architecture and engineering, and also in art, culture and civilization.
One of the most striking items in the exhibit was the Cyrus Cylinder, a stone cylinder covered with cuneiform writing, which describes Cyrus the Great's conquest of Babylon and his edict that all religious sects be tolerated and all deported peoples freed. As many in this room know better than I, Cyrus' edict set in motion the process that led to the end of the Babylonian Captivity and to the return of the Jews to Israel.
The Persian Empire disappeared over 2000 years ago, but the civilization and pride of the Iranian people have remained. The Iranian nation has the potential for a future as great as its past. It has a tremendous resource in its young and dynamic population. It has a large and capable scientific and technical community. And, of course, it has immense oil and gas reserves, which should be more efficiently used for the benefit of the Iranian people. Tragically, Iran's leadership today fails to reflect and to foster the potential of the Iranian nation. Instead, it is backward-looking, defying the values that made Persia great. It strives to create a much different legacy a legacy of intolerance and threat.
The current regime in Teheran is the world's most active state sponsor of
terrorism, closely tied to the most notorious terrorist groups in the Middle
East, actively encouraging those dedicated to the violent disruption of peace
between Israel and the Palestinians. Iran provides weapons, funding and
guidance to Hezbollah, and significant support to Hamas and the Palestine
The regime in Teheran also deprives its people of fundamental human rights, and
its abysmal record is worsening. It uses its control of the security forces,
the judiciary, and other levers of power to thwart and suppress criticism and
The regime seeks great power status but in a form unrecognizable from
Persia's past glories. It seeks hegemony in the region and in the Islamic world
based on fanaticism. In doing so, it is working to foment discontent among Shi'
a in Iraq, seeking to thwart the ability of the Iraqi people to enjoy the
fruits of their liberation from Saddam Hussein. It is working to support the
repressive leaders in Damascus who are stifling the aspirations of the people
of Lebanon to determine their own destiny to establish a future of peace and
And, as you all are aware, the Ahmadi-Nejad regime ranks first in its hatred of
Israel. When the Iranian President makes a major speech calling for Israel "to
be wiped from the face of the earth," he might be saying exactly what he means.
Not only has he repeatedly defended this statement and called for the United
States to be treated in a similar fashion but he has gone further
questioning the historical reality of the Holocaust.
And, of course, the regime in Teheran is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons
capability. Let me be clear about this. For almost 20 years, Iran
systematically violated its IAEA safeguards and NPT obligations by hiding its
nuclear fuel cycle efforts and conducting a covert program aimed at nuclear
weapons. Teheran has admitted some of those efforts -- but only after
clandestine work had been publicly exposed, first by an Iranian opposition
group, and subsequently through the investigations of the International Atomic
Energy Agency. But these admissions fall far short of acknowledging the true
purpose of its nuclear program. Iran continues to insist that the goal of the
program is peaceful; and that every step it takes that brings it closer to a
nuclear weapons capability is only done in furtherance of its legal right to
develop civil nuclear energy.
In fact, Iran has pursued numerous routes to provide it with the ability to
produce fissile material for weapons. We judge Iran is going down the plutonium
route through construction of a heavy water research reactor and a heavy water
plant. It has conducted experiments to separate and purify plutonium. Iran has
even more aggressively pursued the enrichment route, demonstrating its
commitment and determination to expend tremendous resources in defiance of the
international community by building facilities to convert and enrich uranium.
All of these efforts have involved a dizzying array of cover stories and false
statements over many years. And now Teheran has declared that it will actually
resume feeding UF6 into what it says will be a few centrifuges. The cover story
this time is that this is merely innocent "research and development" one
Iranian official reportedly said this was the type of research that is
conducted at many universities. Not at my university or any other that I know.
The removal of IAEA seals three weeks ago, including at the large facility at
Natanz which Iran has said is intended to house tens of thousands of
centrifuges to enrich uranium -- is the next logical and necessary step to
proceed to enrichment on an industrial scale. Consistent with our assessment,
the IAEA recently discovered documents that indicate that Iran received
information on casting and machining hemispheres of enriched uranium. We know
of no application for such hemispheres other than nuclear weapons.
Iran is also pursuing the delivery systems that would allow it to threaten
nuclear strikes against its neighbors in the region and well beyond. It is
producing and deploying increasing numbers of the Shahab-3, a 1300-km range
ballistic missile, and has publicly acknowledged work on even longer-range
systems. We believe it aspires to this capability so that it can hold hostage
cities of our friends in the Middle East and Europe and perhaps in the future
even those in our own country. If Teheran can succeed in this effort, it may
believe that it could undertake its expansionist designs with less concern that
we would be willing to accept the risk of assisting our allies in the Gulf.
The President has made clear that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable. Let me
be explicit why we cannot accept a nuclear-armed Iran:
" A nuclear-armed Iran could embolden the leadership in Teheran to advance its
aggressive ambitions in and outside of the region, both directly and through
the terrorists it supports ambitions that gravely threaten stability and the
security of U.S. friends and allies.
" A nuclear-armed Iran would represent a direct threat to U.S. forces and
allies in the region, the greater Middle East, Europe and Asia, and eventually
to the United States itself. The likelihood of Iranian use of force, including
possibly chemical and biological weapons, could increase if Teheran believed
its nuclear capability protected it from retaliation. At a minimum, it could
seek to use nuclear weapons as a powerful tool of intimidation and blackmail.
" A nuclear-armed Iran could provide the fuse for further proliferation,
engendering a re-evaluation of security requirements across the region, and
undermining the nuclear nonproliferation regime. " A nuclear-armed Iran would
represent an existential threat to the state of Israel. Not content with his
efforts to destroy the peace process, Ahmadi-Nejad may believe that nuclear
weapons are the chosen instrument to achieve his stated goal of wiping Israel
"off the map." Despite the resulting apocalyptic costs for Iran itself, the
regime could miscalculate, or accept those costs in the cause of martyrdom.
" And finally, Iran is at the nexus of weapons of mass destruction and
terrorism, pursuing nuclear, chemical and biological programs and actively
supporting terrorist movements. If Iran has fissile material or nuclear
weapons, the likelihood of their transfer to a third party would increase by
design or through diversion.
Now I will turn to our approach for dealing with Iran's nuclear challenge.
From the earliest days after his inauguration, President Bush has given the
highest priority to combating WMD and missile proliferation, and has adopted
new measures to counter this challenge.
The Administration began by fashioning the first truly national, comprehensive
strategy for preventing and protecting against the threat. Within this
strategy, the Administration readily acknowledged that the starting point, and
initial line of defense, is to prevent proliferation. However, we also knew
that prevention would not always succeed. Therefore, we have placed new
emphasis on protection from, and response to, the use of these weapons against
us or our friends and allies. We are building the counterproliferation
capabilities to deter, defend against, and defeat weapons of mass destruction
in the hands of our enemies. And we are acquiring the ability to contain and
reduce the potentially horrific effects if these weapons are used against us.
We must bring all elements of our strategy to bear in our targeted effort
against the Iranian WMD and missile threat. I would like to highlight two areas
in particular: the critical set of tools against proliferation that we call
"defensive measures," and determined diplomacy to end Iran's nuclear weapons
program and prevent further nuclear proliferation.
As with diplomacy, to be successful in our defensive measures, we must work
with others who share our goals. Taking defensive measures to protect ourselves
from WMD proliferation and WMD-armed adversaries requires a broad array of
instruments, policies, and programs.
At one end of the spectrum are those measures that prevent Iran and other
proliferators from gaining access to sensitive technologies and materials that
could represent a short cut to nuclear weapons. Nunn-Lugar and other
nonproliferation programs are key in this effort, reinforcing other important
measures such as effective export controls by all states. As an Administration,
we have succeeded in expanding and accelerating these programs through not only
U.S. funding, but also through the President's Global Partnership initiative
which has added billions of dollars from others.
At the other end of the spectrum, one element of the solution set is missile
defense, as well as improved counterforce and passive defense capabilities. In
a number of these critical areas, we are working closely with our allies, such
as with Japan and Israel, on missile defenses to protect both our forces and
our populations. This capability adds not only another layer of defense to our
strategic posture against the threat we face, but also another reason to
persuade states like Iran not to acquire nuclear weapons in the first place.
Other defensive measures address the financial underpinnings of proliferation.
UN Security Council Resolution 1540 adopted at the President's urging
requires states to adopt and enforce effective controls on funds and services
related to export and transshipment that would contribute to WMD programs.
Consistent with Resolution 1540, G-8 Leaders have called for enhanced efforts
to combat proliferation through cooperation to identify, track and freeze
transactions and assets associated with proliferation activities.
President Bush augmented U.S. efforts in this field when he issued last June a
new Executive Order, which authorizes the U.S. Government to freeze assets and
block transactions of entities and persons, or their supporters, engaged in
proliferation activities, and to prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in
transactions with them. Currently 18 entities 6 from Iran, as well as 11 from
North Korea and one from Syria have been designated under the Order, and we
are actively considering designating additional ones.
Finally, one of the most important defensive measures undertaken by the Bush
Administration is the Proliferation Security Initiative, which shows the close
interaction among and the creative use of diplomatic, military, economic,
law enforcement, and intelligence tools to combat proliferation. PSI countries
have put all of these assets to work in a multinational, yet flexible, fashion.
The participating countries are applying laws already on the books in
innovative ways and cooperating as never before to interdict shipments, to
disrupt proliferation networks, and to hold accountable the front companies
that support them. PSI has now expanded to include support from more than 70
countries, and continues to grow. It is not a treaty-based approach, involving
long, ponderous negotiations that yield results only slowly, if at all.
Instead, it is an active -- and proactive -- partnership, to deter, disrupt and
prevent proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery.
And PSI is working including against Iran. PSI cooperation has stopped the
transshipment of material and equipment bound for Iran's ballistic missile
programs. PSI partners, working at times with others, have also prevented Iran
from procuring goods to support its WMD programs, including its nuclear
program. And, of course, it was PSI cooperation among the U.S., UK, and other
European partners that began the demise of the A.Q. Khan network, an action
that also contributed to the decision of the Libyan government to abandon its
nuclear weapons and longer-range missile programs. Additional diplomatic
initiatives address other elements of the problem. One clear lesson from the
Iran case is that some states will cynically manipulate the provisions of the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to acquire the sensitive technologies to enable
them to pursue nuclear weapons the very capability the Treaty is intended to
deny. To foreclose that proliferation avenue, President Bush has challenged the
international community to correct the greatest weakness in the nuclear
nonproliferation system: the ability of states like Iran to seek nuclear
weapons under the cover of peaceful energy programs.
To achieve this end, we are working with major supplier states, with the IAEA
and with industry to provide assurances that states will have reliable access
to nuclear fuel and that their best interest is not to invest in their own
fuel-cycle capabilities. If we can succeed, this will be a major gain for
proliferation security and help prevent future Irans.
As we work with partners to close the loophole in the NPT that Iran has sought
to exploit, we are also pursuing active diplomacy to prevent Iran from
succeeding. Last September, following Iran's resumption of uranium conversion,
the IAEA Board found Iran in formal noncompliance with its safeguards
obligations a finding which requires a report to the Security Council under
the IAEA statute and also found that Iran's nuclear activities raise
questions concerning international peace and security that are within the
competence of the UN Security Council. At the last IAEA Board meeting in
November, we decided to support the request of the United Kingdom, France and
Germany the so-called EU-3 to defer again, for a short period, the report
to the Security Council of Iranian noncompliance. While we believed that we had
a majority of the votes, we thought it best to seek an even broader
international grouping to pressure Iran to return to the negotiations on the
basis of the original terms. We also welcomed Russia's efforts to get Iran to
return to negotiations.
In response, Iran rejected negotiation and instead chose confrontation,
repeatedly and deliberately. Iran has now defied the international community by
deciding to remove international seals and resume uranium enrichment
activities. In so doing, it has shattered the basis for continued negotiations
with the EU-3. Its empty calls for negotiations after it destroyed the
framework for negotiations, and its on-again/off-again professions of possible
interest in the Russian proposal for enrichment on Russian territory, are
transparent efforts at stalling continuing its practice of smoke and salami
slicing that we have watched for three years.
The EU-3 have made very clear that Teheran's actions, unless reversed, have
brought their negotiating process to a dead end. The clear majority of states
know that the European effort, which had U.S. support, went the extra mile
and then some to achieve an outcome of substantial benefit to Iran, but
without including Iranian access to enrichment or reprocessing technologies.
This phase of the process is now over. We still believe the issue can be
resolved diplomatically. But to achieve this, we must stand together and press
Iran to make the strategic decision to end its nuclear weapons program.
There is no reasonable peaceful explanation for the Iranian regime to resume
uranium enrichment. The way ahead is shaped by Iran's long history of hiding
sensitive nuclear activities from the IAEA in violation of its obligations, its
refusal to cooperate fully with the IAEA's investigation, its rejection of
diplomatic initiatives offered by the EU and Russia, and now its dangerous
defiance of the entire international community.
The President and Secretary Rice have emphasized that the time is now for the
IAEA Board to report Iran to the Security Council and that this step does not
signal the end of diplomacy, but its next phase. The Iranian regime's
resumption of enrichment activity left no choice but to call an emergency
meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors to report Iran's noncompliance with its
safeguards obligations to the UN Security Council.
The five permanent members of the Security Council as well as Germany agreed in
London very early Tuesday morning that the IAEA Board should report Iran to the
Security Council at its special session opening tomorrow. They also agreed that
the Council will act on Iranian noncompliance after Director General
ElBaradei's report to the March 6 meeting of the IAEA Board.
The Security Council will not supplant the IAEA effort, but reinforce it for
example, by calling on Iran to cooperate with the Agency and to take steps the
IAEA Board has identified to restore confidence, and by giving the IAEA new,
needed authority to investigate all aspects of the Iranian nuclear effort. The
Council should make clear to the Iranian regime that there will be consequences
if it does not step away from its nuclear weapons ambitions. The United States
will encourage the Security Council to achieve this end. We will continue to
consult closely with the EU-3 and the EU, with Russia, China and many other
members of the international community in the coming days and weeks, as this
new diplomatic phase proceeds.
We have no illusion that reporting the Iran issue to the Security Council will
produce a quick resolution of the threat that Iran presents, including its
determined pursuit of nuclear weapons. When faced with a challenge like that
which we face from Iran a country that is able to bring to bear many of its
own tools diplomacy will never be easy, nor will its results be immediate.
But there is no panacea; there is no easy option.
Because we are realistic, the United States and our partners are pursuing
multiple avenues to prevent the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran. Defensive
measures are essential and should be expanded. The President has repeatedly
emphasized that all options are on the table to deal with the threat from Iran,
but that our strong preference is to do so through effective diplomacy. A
peaceful diplomatic solution to this issue would spare the world from the
threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran and would benefit the Iranian people with
the possibility of fuller integration with the international community.
Diplomacy remains essential and, despite the frustrations, is working. It has
taken time several years to forge an international consensus on Iran. But
this was necessary to convince others of the nature of the Iranian program and
to provide a rationale for action. Few today doubt Iran is pursuing a nuclear
weapons capability. A majority of the IAEA Board are now willing to vote to
report Iran to the Security Council. And the Council offers the best next step
for diplomacy to succeed.
Released on February 1, 2006
See http://www.state.gov for Senior State Department
Official's statements and testimonies
Joined: 24 Jun 2003
|Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:06 pm Post subject:
Thank you for very good posts with bold sections, it is very helpful.
In case you have exact source URL for this post please add it to your post.
Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico
|Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:15 pm Post subject:
|Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
February 1, 2006
QUESTION: You know I could ask about the president of Iran using some of the
same rhetoric he's been using for a while: they won't yield to bullies
(inaudible) again. But on a specific front, the prime minister is talking about
halting intrusive UN inspections of facilities and resuming large-scale
enrichment of uranium if Iran is taken before the UN Security Council.
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we -- these are more threats from Iran that if followed
through on would take Iran in just the opposite direction that the world is
calling on them to go. We will have a vote tomorrow in the IAEA Board of
Governors on the question of referring Iran to the Security Council. Certainly
the United States is going to vote for a report on Security Council at this
time from the IAEA Board of Governors. Other countries will have an opportunity
to vote on that as well. We expect that that measure will pass and so Iran will
find itself before the Security Council.
And the message that is going to be spent very clearly to Iran is that they
have crossed the line. That they should come back in line with their
Nonproliferation Treaty obligations, come back in line with the commitments
that they have made to their negotiating partners: the EU Three. And come back
in line in terms of cooperation with the IAEA. The IAEA Deputy Director for
Compliance has delivered to the Member states of the IAEA Board of Governors a
very interesting and, should I say, disturbing report, concerning what they
have found on their most recent visit.
So again, Iran is taking itself -- the regime is taking the Iranian people 180
degrees opposite from where the rest of the world is headed on this issue. The
rest of the world is very concerned about the fact that Iran continues to
pursue development of nuclear weapons. And we would call upon the Iranian
regime to suspend their activities related to enrichment and return back in a
serious manner to the international community on this issue. And the specific
request regarding Iran will be outlined in the resolution that's voted on
tomorrow in the IAEA Board of Governors. It asks for several specific things
for Iran to do and it will also refer the matter, or report the matter to the
QUESTION: Report is the word?
MR. MCCORMACK: Report is the technical term. Report, refer, you know, what's in
a name -- a rose, et cetera, et cetera. So I won't get into --
QUESTION: Maybe it's too early to ask this question but, you know, there was
hope here that the simple matter -- the matter of simply taking or referring or
reporting the situation to the Security Council might have some productive
impact, might cause Iran to reverse course. Do these statements suggest that
ain't going to happen or is it too early to make that judgment?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think at this point it's too early to make that
judgment, Barry. First of all, we haven't had the vote yet.
MR. MCCORMACK: And we'll see how Iran reacts. They will have a period of a
little over a month before the Security Council takes action on this report
from the IAEA Board of Governors. That was part of the agreement that we had
with the P-5, with Secretary Rice and the other foreign ministers agreed to in
London yesterday -- yesterday, this morning, 1 a.m. Tuesday, so yesterday.
QUESTION: Sean, can I follow-up on IAEA? IAEA is concerned, don't you think
that ambassador, the U.S. Ambassador to India, Ambassador Mulford, put India
and the U.S. relations on the spotlight because India was working, I think,
behind the doors as far as the working is concerned and in favor of the U.S.
and European Union, and some people are calling that Ambassador should be
recalled or should resign because of his personal remarks, if he have made
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, he himself has spoken to this issue. Ambassador Mulford is
a distinguished ambassador. He's doing a good job on behalf of the United
States Government in India.
We've talked about the issue of reporting Iran to the Security Council with the
Indian Government. We have expressed our hope that they would vote yes. They
voted yes back in September to find Iran in noncompliance. We would hope that
they would do so again on this resolution. But that is their decision. They're
a sovereign country and it is going to be the Indian Government's decision on
how they vote. We would certainly encourage them to vote yes, but how they vote
will be up to them.
QUESTION: Has the Secretary spoken with anybody --I'm sorry -- anybody in
India, with her counterpart or anybody on this issue?
MR. MCCORMACK: I'll check for you on that.
QUESTION: I have a follow-up on that and another question on the report.
MR. MCCORMACK: Okay.
QUESTION: If the Indians do vote no, Congress has threatened not to approve
this deal that they have for nuclear cooperation. Is that something the
Administration would support?
MR. MCCORMACK: Support what? What would we support?
QUESTION: Cutting India off from the deals that you've been negotiating.
MR. MCCORMACK: Look, we have talked about this before. It came up last week in
the context of Ambassador Mulford's remarks. Ambassador Mulford said himself
that he was providing his analysis of the political scene in Washington.
Certainly there are realities on Capitol Hill concerning these issues. I said
that we view them as separate issues. They certainly come up in the same
conversation in the context of strengthening the nonproliferation regime
So you know, we have talked about this before. There are certainly realities in
the Executive Branch. We view these issues as separate issues but we certainly
talk about them in the same conversations. As for the Hill, there are strongly
held views on this matter and they don't center necessarily on India but on the
seriousness of the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran, not only to the region
but to the world.
QUESTION: And I have a question on the IAEA report and briefing that you
received yesterday. It talks about links between the military -- between
military work and weaponization and the work being done on the nuclear front.
And Ambassador Schulte spoke a little bit about that today. Does this come as a
surprise to you? Do you think that this is a kind of further evidence or do you
think that this definitively proves that Iran is trying to build a nuclear
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, the point of the -- as this point, the report has not been
formally presented to the IAEA, and I think in terms of detailed comment about
it, I'm going to withhold those types of comments until after the report has
been finally presented to the Board of Governors. But I think that there are
certainly troubling questions that are raised by this report and you touched
upon them. What are the linkages between Iran's enrichment activities and a
military program? This report, in particular, raises questions about Iran's
work on reentry vehicles. It raises questions about machining the uranium into
hemispheres. There's only one reason why you would try to machine uranium,
highly enriched uranium, into hemispheres: You do that because you want to
create a nuclear weapon.
So the report raises a number of very troubling issues that Iran has yet to
address. I've certainly seen the news reports out there that the IAEA
inspectors traveled to Iran and they sought to access a site at Lavizan that
had been raised previously, and there were a lot of suspicions about what was
at that site. The suspicions were that that was one of the places where the
Iranian regime was conducting nuclear weapons research. Well, that site is no
longer there and the IAEA has asked a number of questions about that. What was
going on there? They have yet to get answers to those questions. They have yet
to be able to visit that site, take samples and to see what possible remaining
traces there were of the work that went on there. They also were not able to
speak with at least one of the people at that facility doing the work.
So this is just one of many, many questions that have been built up over time.
And the interesting -- the thing that I would note about this is that the
number of questions is not actually getting smaller with respect to Iran's
nuclear program; the number of questions is actually increasing and the
questions are becoming much more pointed. And it gets to this issue of linkage
between Iran's enrichment activities and its weaponization activities. And we
have talked about the fact for some time that we believe that those two things
are interconnected, that in fact the enrichment activities that they are
undertaking are done with the intended purpose of building a nuclear weapons.
And as we proceed in time, we are seeing more and more indications that that
is, in fact, the case.
So we look forward to hearing from the IAEA tomorrow in terms of what they have
found over the recent months concerning their investigation into Iranian
activities. I think that at this point there are a lot of questions that remain
to be answered. But those questions point in one direction, and that is that
Iran is working to develop a nuclear weapon.
QUESTION: Okay, my first question is how big of a setback would it be if Iran
did halt these snap inspections that they agreed to under the Additional
Protocol? I mean, would that be backfiring or would that just be, you know,
kind of a bummer but not really that big a deal?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, the Secretary talked about this a little bit yesterday,
not quite in those terms. But Iran -- the regime -- continues to make these --
continue to make these threats; they're going to do x, y and z, they're going
to halt their cooperation, they're going to throw the inspectors out. But what
the inspectors are seeing now, what they're watching, is Iran breaking their
commitments, their obligations that they undertook to the EU-3. So there is
some value in that.
But in terms of taking steps that would renege on their commitments, certainly
that is serious and I think the international community would view that as
serious. As for what, you know, utility the IAEA would place on the information
that they have gotten from those types of inspections, you'll have to ask the
IAEA. I think from a political standpoint that Iran's continuing defiance of
the international community and taking steps such as throwing out inspectors,
such as walking back on their commitments to allow inspections in any time,
anywhere inspections, those are serious matters. And all it does is serve to
further isolate Iran from the rest of the international community.
So we'll see what the Iranian reaction -- what the Iranian reaction is. I
expect that the vote will take place tomorrow to report Iran to the Security
Council and then there's going to be some time. There's going to be some time
for the Iranian regime to consider its options and to see how it will respond
to the very clear signal that the rest of the international community is
sending to that regime. And we will have an opportunity at the March 6th Board
of Governors meeting to hear from Director General ElBaradei not only about the
past work that has gone from the IAEA since the fall Board of Governors
meetings, but also what the attitude and actions of the Iranian regime have
been in the interim between tomorrow and March 6th, so we'll see how they
QUESTION: Which brings me to the second question, which is that this time
that's been given is to allow the Iranians to consider the Russian proposal
which the U.S. has backed in the past. And my second question is how many --
how much do we really know about the Russian proposal? Did you guys sign on to
a proposal that might allow Iranian scientists to participate in enrichment in
Russia, in a joint program? I mean, are there a lot of questions out there
about the Russian proposal or do you guys have a lot of details about the
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we've been briefed along the way by the Russian Government
on their proposal and they have talked to the Iranian Government about their
proposal. And at its core, it would call for a joint venture between the
Iranians and the Russians to enrich uranium on the ground in Russia.
Now, in terms of --
QUESTION: (Inaudible) would participate in this and be (inaudible).
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, in terms of the details of it, I'm not sure that they've
gotten beyond the discussions about principle, because the Iranians have
refused to engage the Russian Government in serious discussions about that.
Now, we in supporting the Russian Government in their activities, have made it
clear that the object of this proposal is to ensure that the Iranian Government
isn't able to obtain the know-how and the technology as well as the materials
in order to perform enrichment on Iranian soil. They have structured their deal
on the Bushehr reactor in a similar manner, so that the Russian Government
would provide the fissile material for the Bushehr reaction and then take it
Look, the Russian Government doesn't -- it's important to remember -- the
Russian Government doesn't want Iran to have a nuclear weapon anymore than the
rest of the world.
QUESTION: But President Putin has used words like nondiscriminatory when he
describes this deal and so -- leading some people to conclude that the Iranian
scientists would be allowed to go to Russia and participate in this enrichment.
So my question is when you guys backed this proposal, are we saying that you
signed up for a proposal that did not allow the Iranian scientists to acquire
the know-how of enrichment, to physically be on the ground in Russia and
acquire this know-how? Is that --
MR. MCCORMACK: Again, we've been briefed by the Russians on it. And the very
core, the principal of this agreement, is that Iran not be allowed to have
access to those critical technologies and that know-how in order to do
enrichment. That's the whole point here.
QUESTION: Can I follow-up on that?
MR. MCCORMACK: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: So are you saying that you signed on in theory to the principle of
such a plan and, you know, you're not going to give your kind of final blessing
of the proposal until you see the fine print: what kind of equipment would
still remain in Iran?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I'm not sure there is any fine print at this point because
the Russians have --
QUESTION: Well, I mean, isn't there a lot of questions about if such a proposal
would take place, not only what Farah said but also about what kind of
equipment would remain in Iran, whether they'd still have equipment that could
help them further their nuclear capability?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, that's why -- I keep getting back to the point that we,
the Russians, and everybody else agree that Iran should not be allowed to
develop a nuclear weapon. It's a destabilizing -- that would be a destabilizing
development for the world and the region and especially for Russia that borders
So the core of any potential agreement, and I say potential here because the
Iranian's have given no indication thus far that they will engage the Russian
Government or anybody else, for that matter, in a serious manner, in addressing
the legitimate concerns to give the international community objective
guarantees that they will not be able to develop a nuclear weapon under cover
of a civilian nuclear program. So certainly the international community, the
key there is, looking for objective guarantees. And the Russian Government
shares the interest and the views of the international community on this
matter. So they have, in good faith, made this offer to the Iranian Government,
as well as the EU-3, to try to address Iran's desire to have nuclear power.
Now, that raises the question of why does Iran need nuclear power. They sit
upon some of the largest reserves of hydrocarbons in the world: gas and oil.
But that aside, that question aside, the international community has said we
will try to address your concerns. We will try to address your desire to have a
civilian nuclear power program. But in return, you have to provide -- and the
way the deal is structured -- have to provide objective guarantees to the
international community that you're not going to try to develop a nuclear
weapon, which is what we believe you have been trying to do for the past 18
years. Thus far, we have heard -- the world has heard nothing but words of
obfuscation and threat from the Iranian Government.
And one further point. The leaders of the Iranian regime keep talking about
they have a right to nuclear power, but that's not the question here. Along
with signing up to a treaty, the Nonproliferation Treaty, come obligations. And
what the international community has found is that the Iranian Government has
not lived up to its obligations and, furthermore, the Iranian Government is
trying to develop a nuclear weapon under the cover of these civilian nuclear
But I wonder: Do the Iranian people really know what has been offered them? Is
the regime telling them the truth about what has been offered them? Have they
been told about the far-reaching proposal that the EU-3 has put on the table
that would allow them to have a civilian nuclear power generating capacity? Do
they know that the Russian Government has put this proposal on the table? You
know, it's for you as journalists to ask these questions. I'm not sure that
they have heard that.
So what the regime is doing is, by confronting the international community on
this issue, they are -- they themselves are the ones who are responsible for
isolating the Iranian people more and more, every single day, from the rest of
the world. It's not -- the people responsible for that isolation are not the
people of Europe, the United States or Asia or any place else. It's the leaders
of the Iranian regime that are the ones that are isolating the Iranian people.
QUESTION: Sean, a quick follow-up.
MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.
QUESTION: Sean, in the Middle East, everybody is following of course, the whole
issue in the Middle East from the Iranian point of view and many around there
see it through the prism of Israel, Iran and the strategic balance over there.
First, to what do you specifically attribute the harsh language from Iran
towards the U.S., specifically towards Washington?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, the --
QUESTION: And how can you put it in the context of Israel and Iraq? Many think
that the leverage that the Iranians have is the deep penetration, actually they
have into southern Iraq, where if they were needed eventually by the British
and the Americas. Can you give us a little bit, a picture, a little bit of all
those neighbors -- Israel, Iraq, the Shiites in Iraq, very close to Tehran? How
the U.S. can balance all the demands strategically from the good neighbors
around and at the same time send a message to Iran that it's an international
community message, it's not just only American?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think you only have to look at the comments from around
the world about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons to see the level of concern.
As for why the Iranian regime chooses to use the United States as a foil, if
you will, for distracting the attention of the world or their people from any
other variety of issues, you'll have to ask the Iranian regime why they choose
to do that. I would suggest that there's a long history over the past two
decades of doing just that.
In terms of where Iran, you know, finds itself geo-strategically, they have to
their east a neighbor, Afghanistan, that is now on the pathway to democracy; to
the west they have a neighbor, Iraq, that is now struggling to build those very
democratic institutions that would provide for a better way of life for the
Iraqi people. And it is ironic that the Afghans and Iraqis in Iran were able to
vote for whatever candidate they wanted to in the elections that took place in
both of those countries. The Iranians people didn't have that same choice. When
the voted for a president, they didn't have the ability to check off one of the
names of the thousand people that had been eliminated from the ballot by fiat
by the Guardian Council, which is how the elections are run in Iran.
The Iranian regime also as they look around the rest of the Middle East will
find that there are increasing steps towards greater freedom and democracy
throughout the Middle East. Now, the process of democracy, as the Secretary has
said, through the process of greater freedom and the spread democracy
throughout the region is sometimes messy. We get unexpected results like we did
in the Palestinian elections. But this is -- a project of a generation. And it
is a project of opening up the political spaces in these countries in the
Middle East so that those individuals who previously did not have a choice to
express themselves and to express how they wanted to be governed, now will have
the opportunity to express that choice.
QUESTION: But (inaudible)
MR. MCCORMACK: That is all to say, that the rest of the region is headed in one
direction, a more positive direction. The Iranian regime is headed in the other
direction. They're headed in a direction more -- of more repression: artists
aren't able to play classical music in Tehran. We just heard the other day
about the Iranian regime breaking up protests by transit workers who want to
express their opinion that they deserved a different kind of deal for their
work, but they weren't allowed to do that. And you can go on and on and on in
terms of the examples of this regime. And this is not just a concern of the
United States; this is a shared concern by the rest of the world.
On top of this, you also have an Iranian regime that is essentially the central
banker for terrorism in the region. They are the largest sponsor -- state
sponsor of terrorism in the region. So, yeah, these are all indicators that
this is a regime that is headed in the other direction.
QUESTION: But would you put the nuclear program of Israel, because in Tehran
this is how it is seen: it's they have it, why aren't we allowed to have it? I
mean, what's your answer to -- how can you address this issue?
MR. MCCORMACK: Our view and the view of the United States has always been that
we look forward to a Middle East that is free of nuclear weapons. And we are
working right now within the confines of the nonproliferation regime to see
QUESTION: Sean, can we go back to the Russian proposal? If I understood well
what you said, it implies that if between the Board of Governors tomorrow and
the 6 March IEA -- wait --
MR. MCCORMACK: IAEA.
QUESTION: -- meeting. If in between -- during this month, the Iranians say,
okay, we accept to examine seriously the Russian proposal, would it change
something for you in the Security Council?
MR. MCCORMACK: Let's see, we'll see tomorrow in the resolution that's going to
be voted on a series of steps that the IAEA Board of Governors calls upon Iran
to conform with. So you'll see exactly what those steps are. But regardless of
that, Iran will now find itself before the Security Council. We'll see how they
react and we'll see if that reaction, whatever it may be, is satisfactory to
the international community. Because the international community is united on
this question. We'll see how Iran reacts.
QUESTION: So the Russian proposal is inside EU figures among the steps?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, what's happened now is that the Iranians have now
regressed to the point where they have -- where they left off from the Russian
proposal. They have now broken their commitments to the EU-3 so they're much
farther back than where -- even where they started six months ago in the eyes
of the international community.
Now, I would point out just a little bit of the history here that the August
2004 Paris Accord by the EU-3 was actually in reaction to a previous agreement
years before that the Iranians had broken. So they have a -- there's a long
history of this and it comes as no surprise to the international community that
Iran now has reneged on yet another international commitment. We'll see how
QUESTION: Good, thanks. Speaking of the resolution that's going to be voted on
prospectively tomorrow, what can you tell us about how many versions it's gone
through? Are you satisfied with the last draft that you've seen? And how much
hand did the U.S. have in writing it or was that something that you also left
to the EU-3, basically?
MR. MCCORMACK: I believe the European 3, the EU-3, took the lead in drafting
it. Certainly we're involved in it and I believe that there is an agreed text
at this point. You never -- that's subject certainly to last-minute objections
or questions, but there is an agreed text in Vienna now. We believe it's
QUESTION: You mean an agreed text that has been circulated to the members?
MR. MCCORMACK: Of the resolution, yeah.
QUESTION: Has been circulated to the members and you've gotten commitments back
from them that this is amenable to them and this is --
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, it's amenable to us. We'll see how others react and I
think that they'll express that through their votes tomorrow.
QUESTION: Okay. So you'd say it's in final form, then?
MR. MCCORMACK: The text of the --
MR. MCCORMACK: -- the resolution from the IAEA Board of Governors?
MR. MCCORMACK: Yes. Yes. I mean, again, with the caveat that, you know, there
always could be last-minute hands raised and changing commas or a conjunction
or that sort of thing, but --
QUESTION: So unlike the -- UN parlance, it's -- there is no "in blue" yet?
MR. MCCORMACK: Charlie, I don't know the specific procedures, but we believe we
have what is the final text that will be voted on tomorrow.
QUESTION: A follow-up on Iran, Mr. McCormack?
MR. MCCORMACK: Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Why (inaudible) a policy for nuclear stuff for all or for none, and
the matter will be over?
MR. MCCORMACK: Nuclear for what?
QUESTION: For all or for one.
MR. MCCORMACK: For all? Nuclear one is for all or --
QUESTION: Or for one. Because some countries must get and some other ones must
MR. MCCORMACK: That's not a pathway, I think, that we're going to follow.
QUESTION: Excuse me?
MR. MCCORMACK: No, there have -- there have been -- I have -- I remember when I
was in graduate school and I've actually read serious academic treatises on
just that point, suggesting just that thing. That is not the policy of the
QUESTION: What is the answer? What is the answer to it? We hear nuclear stuff
(inaudible) but in this case we hear some others who have and some others must
not have. So my point is why a policy for nuclear stuff for all or for one?
It's very serious.
MR. MCCORMACK: I'm trying to address your question in a serious manner. And
there have been those that have suggested this. I don't think that that is
where the international community is headed.
QUESTION: Can we change subject?
MR. MCCORMACK: I don't know. Iran? Yes. Yes, ma'am.
QUESTION: It appears that the Government of Iran will be on the Security
Council with or without the resolution, the result of the resolution; am I
MR. MCCORMACK: They will find themselves, we believe, after tomorrow, before
the Security Council, yes. Their file, their dossier, will be transferred to
the Security Council, therefore it will be open to possible action by the
Security Council. Now, in our agreement with the other members of the P-5, we
agreed that we would not seek or others would not seek to take action on that
report, that referral, from the IAEA Board of Governors before we have had an
opportunity to hear again from Director General ElBaradei on March 6th. There's
a schedule Board of Governors meeting on March 6th. So that's sort of the lay
of the land where we are right now.
QUESTION: Iran again?
MR. MCCORMACK: Okay.
QUESTION: Sean, don't you have also the impression that you watch what's
unfolding now internationally that we are also again facing the same path we've
seen with Iraq ten years ago -- investigations, refusal, denial and then
confrontation -- and we've seen what it led to.
MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, I wouldn't --
QUESTION: I would think that --
MR. MCCORMACK: I wouldn't draw those parallels. The Secretary has talked about
this, the President has talked about this, and I don't have anything to add to
what they've said on the matter.
Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico
|Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:44 pm Post subject:
The link at botton of article will take the reader to main page-Dept of State, on the left side of the page will be an index of all statements, briefings...Secretary, officials..marked (other) and daily press briefings.
Occasionaly in posting a direct link to the report, the link seems not to work, perhaps as access through home page is more reliable...lots of hits on the site daily may be another reason...
But, I'll give it a shot next time and test it.
There is also DoS list serve, where you can subscribe to all releases posted on the site..sent to your email in-box as they are released..this may be something you will find helpful in keeping up with a very fast paced emerging situation.
I should note that when I post an "excerpt" regarding Iran, it is subject-complete, unedited, and I've gone through the entire text so as to miss nothing, including context of questions on related matters.
I forgot to include the link to the briefing, so here it is:
See http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/ for all daily press briefings
To change your subscription, go to http://www.state.gov/misc/52620.htm
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