Iran Focus: London, Oct. 12 – United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared on several U.S. news channels on Tuesday and was questioned on the issue of Iran and its nuclear non-compliance. The following are excerpts of her interviews on Fox News, CBS, and CNN relating to Iran. Iran Focus
London, Oct. 12 – United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared on several U.S. news channels on Tuesday and was questioned on the issue of Iran and its nuclear non-compliance. The following are excerpts of her interviews on Fox News, CBS, and CNN relating to Iran:
Interview With Brit Hume of Fox News
QUESTION: Iran. How do you see that now in terms of the movement forward by the international community and whether there’s any realistic chance of getting the kind of urgency that you’re now seeing on North Korea there?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, the urgency on North Korea is extraordinary. I think it’s — there’s no doubt that I’ve rarely, maybe never seen that kind of response from the international community.
On Iran, it has been a process of moving from Iran’s insistence that it would not suspend its enrichment and reprocessing, and by the way it had done so voluntarily so it didn’t have to, to a mandatory requirement for suspension to an effort to see if we could get through negotiations a suspension through talks to now I think a recognition that the path that we’re on is the Security Council path.
There is work going on, on a resolution. It will be I think a good resolution under Chapter 7, Article 41, which means that it will have measures probably relating to trying to stop its nuclear program. But it’s going to take sometime. I think you cannot underestimate, though, Brit, the collateral effects on Iran of being under a Chapter 7 resolution. Because if you’re making decisions about investment in Iran, if you’re making decisions about how to deal with Iran financially, the fact that this is a state under Chapter 7 resolutions is going to have an effect on your thinking about those —
QUESTION: For the benefit of people who may not know, what’s the difference between Chapter 7 and other sanctions?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, Chapter 7 is the strongest article, the strongest chapter that you can use in the Security Council because it says that your behavior is a threat to international peace and security. It means that the world has put you on a black list so to speak. And being on that black list is not someplace that you want to be if you want to have the kind of interaction with the world, the kind of investment that you need to flow, the kind of freedom to move financial assets. That’s not a list you want to be on.
Interview With Wolf Blitzer of CNN
QUESTION: So spell out briefly the carrot that you’re offering North Korea right now in terms of U.S. assistance, financial assistance, economic assistance, building light-water reactors. What is the carrot to them?
SECRETARY RICE: There is a six-party agreement as of September 19th of 2005. That agreement says that when there is verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, meaning the North Koreans begin to dismantle their programs, you can move all the way even to normalization of relations, assistance, help with North Korean energy problems. There is a long list of potential benefits to the North Koreans. But the North Koreans need to understand that that is going to come in the context of work among the neighbors, work among those states that have enough leverage to make sure that if the North Koreans sign on to an agreement this time, that they’re actually going to live up to it.
QUESTION: No one is watching this more closely than the leaders in Iran who are supposedly moving towards their own nuclear weapons program, the supreme leader of Iran saying today and reacting to what’s going on in North Korea, that Iran will continue its nuclear program without fear and without retreat.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: What’s your message to the leadership of Iran?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the Iranians also said that they condemn the North Korean program, so I assume they don’t want to end up in the same position that the North Koreans are about to end up in the Security Council. The message to the Iranians is that they do have a path to a civil nuclear program. That’s not the issue. When they say that the United States and the allies are trying to deny them civil nuclear energy, that’s simply not right. This is about whether they can have enrichment and reprocessing capability which is the technology that allows you to make a bomb.
There is a very favorable package on the table for Iran put forward again by six countries, six interested and important countries and an offer for the United States to join negotiations, to talk about the Iranian nuclear ambitions for a civil nuclear program and anything else that the Iranians want to talk about. The condition set not by the United States, but by the IAEA Board of Governors is that they have to suspend their enrichment first.
QUESTION: You know —
SECRETARY RICE: I would hope the Iranians would still take that path, but we are in the Security Council concerning the Iran file and we’re going to have a Security Council resolution under Chapter 7, Article 41.
Interview With Katie Couric of CBSs 60 Minutes
QUESTION: Turning now to one of the key players in this developing story, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Madame Secretary, five years ago President Bush labeled North Korea, Iran and Iraq as the “axis of evil”. And now former democratic Senator Sam Nunn said, “We started on the wrong end of the ‘axis of evil’ and with the least dangerous of countries, Iraq.” How would you respond to that?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I would say that they were all dangerous in their own way and we’re dealing with each one of them separately. Iraq was suigeneris. We had been to war with Iraq in 1991, were still in a state of war with Iraq. There were lots of reasons to worry about the Iraqi threat in the world’s most volatile region.
But when it comes to North Korea, what the President has done is to put together a very important coalition of states that have an interest in stopping the North Korean nuclear program, including China and South Korea, which have real leverage.
QUESTION: But has a nuclear-armed North Korea emerged as a bigger threat to national security than Iraq ever was?
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, I don’t think we have to choose between them, Katie. We actually went to war against Iraq in 1991 because they invaded and tried to annex Kuwait and we believed at the time were threatening Saudi Arabia. So I don’t think that one can say that Iraq was not a dangerous country.
But certainly North Korea in its own way, with this announcement about nuclear tests after — just a month and a half or so after it had decided to test missiles, presents a real threat to international peace and security. But you’re seeing the international community act with a resoluteness and with an urgency that I have to tell you I have not seen in the entire time that I’ve been involved in international politics.
QUESTION: So you disagree with Sam Nunn when he says we started on the wrong end of the “axis of evil”?
SECRETARY RICE: I think you have to deal with all the threats before you and they all have different answers. The idea that you use the same methods that you would use with an Iraq where you were essentially still in a state of war, or North Korea where you have a coalition of states on the — in the region that have great interest in bringing their nuclear program to an end, of course you’re going to deal with these differently. And with Iran we’ve dealt even differently with that one, that program, which is somewhat earlier in its genesis.
QUESTION: We’ll get to Iran in a moment. But what can be done to deal with this new threat?
QUESTION: I think in an obliquely critical remark by Secretary of State James Baker regarding sort of the foreign policy philosophy of the Bush Administration, he said that diplomacy is made by engaging in dialogue with your enemies and not your friends. And you know, we heard the same thing from the former Israeli Prime Minister as well. So why not make more of an effort to reach out to the enemies of this country?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, we have certainly, as I said, talked to the North Koreans in the context of the six-party talks. We are not without contact with them. We even have channels that we still pursue. We gave the Iranians an offer to talk. All they had to do was suspend their enrichment and reprocessing activities, something that would keep them from continually practicing the technologies that lead to a nuclear weapon, and we were prepared to talk to the Iranians. We have talked repeatedly to the Syrians. Colin Powell went to Syria. Rich Armitage went to Syria. It’s not the absence of talking that’s the problem; it’s the absence of results. And indeed, if you’re not careful, what you do is you substitute talking for results.
So when we believe that there is something to be gained by engaging with a country, we are more than willing to do it and we have done it. The problem has been with some states that they simply don’t act.
QUESTION: Finally, Iran today announced that it won’t step back from its nuclear program. Are you concerned at all, Madame Secretary, that Iran has been emboldened by North Korea’s actions?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I would think it would be just the opposite; that when Iran watches the fundamental condemnation that the international community has delivered as a result of the North Korean program, and I think you will see a strong UN Security Council action, that Iran will need to stop and think twice about the path that it is actually headed down. Because when one is under a Chapter 7 resolution, which is what we’re now contemplating for Iran, a resolution that brands your country and its activities a threat to international peace and security, that’s not a list that you want to be on. That’s not a list that you want to be on from the point of view of investment. That’s not a list that you want to be on from the point of view of diplomatic engagement. And I would think that Iran, watching what the world is doing in regards to North Korea, would want to think twice about the path it’s chosen.