Joint Press Conference with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy (Excerpts)

October 14, 2005

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FOREIGN MINISTER DOUSTE-BLAZY: (Via interpreter) As concerns are talked, well, we talked a great deal, in particular about Iran, but also about Lebanon, Syria, Iraq -- these subjects. And I can tell you that there is a continuity in our cooperation and perfect understanding, which becomes increasingly obvious in particular on these subjects . . .

SECRETARY RICE: . . . We talked about Iran, where the EU-3 continues to seek to use a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and where we strongly encourage Iran to take advantage of that possibility. We discussed the outcome of the most recent IAEA Board of Governors meetings and the need to use the momentum of the international community's solidarity about that issue to bring about a diplomatic solution.

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FOREIGN MINISTER DOUSTE-BLAZY: Just one word on Iran, as Condoleezza Rice just mentioned it. I believe that we share views on Iran and I think that together we must make the Security Council option absolutely credible. And in fact, this is the work that we were doing the other day at the Board of Governors.

We also must, as Condoleezza Rice has said, we -- it's a possibility of still believing in negotiation and it is possible to negotiate, let's do it. We believe that sensitive nuclear activities should be -- must be suspended, and to do so you have to stand firm and to be strict and you must -- it's also necessary to avoid declarations which raise the possibility of action outside the multilateral framework. Therefore, it's important to believe in the agency, to make the agency credible, but not to be afraid to say that, if necessary, the prospect of the Security Council does exist. But in the meantime we must give the impression that Iran, which is a great country, is listening to, is hearing what we say, but we also have to give a message of showing that we stand firm.

First question.

QUESTION: A question for Mrs. Rice, Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy. First of all on Iran, Madame Secretary, you are leaving for Moscow and precisely with blocking the negotiation, the President is the Russians attitude, they don't consider conversion activities are an imminent danger. They still want to preserve all possibility of negotiations, saying that it's enrichment that's a problem. Do you think that it will be necessary to refer the case to the Security Council before unanimity is reached?

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SECRETARY RICE: . . . As to Iran, I just wanted to underscore what Philippe just said. We have to have a very strong message to Iran that, of course, there is always the course of negotiation. That is what the EU-3 has been trying to do for two years. But there is also the course of the Security Council. It is a course that is available to the international community and it is therefore that important that Iran negotiate in good faith.

It is also the case in speaking with the Russians that I take note of their concerns about the fuel cycle in Iran. It is evident in the way that they have structured the Bushehr arrangement with a fuel take-back provision that they are very concerned about the fuel cycle in the hands of the Iranians.

Look, this isn't an issue -- the issue of rights is not the issue here. The issue is the confidence of the international community in what Iran would be doing with its civil nuclear activities given that it has a history of having violated its obligations and a history now of noncompliance.

FOREIGN MINISTER DOUSTE-BLAZY: Well, I repeat it here, we have a community of aims with the Americans. It's to avoid (inaudible) over the fuel cycle for Iran. And to do so, as I've just said, it has to be done through the multilateral system and the option of the Security Council for the Iranians must be a sufficient deterrent to convince them to abandon their sensitive activities but (inaudible) to do so with the Russians and with the Chinese.

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QUESTION: Are you confident that the Sunni minority will play the rule of democracy, the rule of the game on Iraq, and that neighboring Iran won't be a troubleshooter in the area?

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, we have always said that Iran is a neighbor of Iraq; it should behave as a good and transparent neighbor. And I think the one troubling development is what the British have noted, which is that they are concerned that there may be technology to support terrorism coming in from Iran. And I think this is an issue that the international community should raise and raise clearly with the Iranians.

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QUESTION: Madame Secretary, is the United States or are the United States and its European allies considering any new steps to ensure that the Iranians finally do comply?

And to the Minister, the Iranians have repeatedly been part of the process, then walked away from it to join it again and walk away. Is there anything that gives you confidence that the new government's latest pledge to participate in the talks is actually going to produce anything?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, as you know -- sorry. As you know, we have -- the United States has supported the EU-3 in its efforts and we continue to support the EU-3 in its efforts. We hope that the Iranians will return to the table, discuss with the EU-3 what negotiated solution might be there. But one thing that is very clear is the Security Council is an option; it is an option that was put on the table at the most recent meeting. The Iranians are not in compliance with their obligations. That was a step that was taken. And the Iranians need to get involved in negotiations and restore the confidence of the international community that they're not trying to build a nuclear weapons.

The fuel cycle is the core of this problem. The international community has no reason to trust that Iran would deal responsibly with the fuel cycle.

QUESTION: But nothing -- no new steps are being considered?

SECRETARY RICE: Robin, we are in discussions and I think there will be further discussions in Moscow. But we're not today talking about new steps. The EU-3 is in the lead on this negotiation.

FOREIGN MINISTER DOUSTE-BLAZY: In very few words and to add to what you've just said, I think that no program, civil nuclear program, can justify the fuel cycle in Iran. That's the problem. The subject is that today, if we stick to civil nuclear activities or peaceful nuclear activities, there's no reason, given the partnership with the Russians which the Iranians have, there is absolutely no need for them to have the fuel cycle. At least that's what we think and that's what we told them, including we told this to the new government.

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