Briefing with Spokesperson Sean McCormack on Upcoming Larijani-Solana Talks (Excerpts)

June 5, 2006

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QUESTION: Are you taking seriously the Iranian Supreme Leader threat regarding oil supply?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, Secretary Rice talked about this a little bit yesterday. And we're not going to react to every single utterance that comes out of Tehran. Mr. Solana, I believe, is going to be in Tehran tomorrow to lay out for the leadership there -- I believe he's going to be, according to the press reports, meeting with Mr. Larijani. So we believe that the Iranian leadership will get a full sense of this package that was put together, both the incentive side as well as the disincentive side. It will be up to Mr. Solana to go into whatever level of detail he feels is appropriate about the different aspects of the proposal. But so we will wait to see what the answer to -- from the Iranian regime to the rest of the world is regarding this package that is being presented to them.


QUESTION: Is this a take-it-or-leave-it package or do you consider this a jumping off point by which there could be negotiations with the Iranians?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, the way it has been put is the Iranians, in order to sit down and have a discussion with us at the table, need to suspend their enrichment-related activities, enrichment-related and reprocessing-related activities. They need to also implement the activities of the additional protocol. I'm not asking them to actually ratify it at this point, but basically go back to status quo ante, where they were living up to those obligations.

As for what the future may bring, certainly there are many, many possibilities, as outlined in this package. So we'll wait to -- we will wait to see what their response is in terms of negotiations. That is , in fact, what is being offered them, that is being offered discussions, negotiations about their nuclear program and this package outlines what the proposal, the agreed proposal, is from the P-5+1.

QUESTION: The United States put down the condition that it wouldn't join the talks if Iran didn't suspend, but do you have agreement with your other partners that they wouldn't go back to the table with Iran unless Iran suspended?

MR. MCCORMACK: That's the common agreement. That's everybody's condition. That's the IAEA -- and it's outlined in the IAEA Board of Governors statement and it's also -- it's also -- was made very clear at the P-5+1. Foreign Secretary Becket talked about that when we were in Vienna on Thursday.

QUESTION: Could I just follow up on that? Just to clarify, the suspension doesn't have to be permanent, is what you're saying, for the talks to take place; it just has to be a temporary suspension?

MR. MCCORMACK: What the offer is, the proposal, if you will, is that in return for Iran suspending its enrichment-related activities, according to the Board of Governors statement, then we would -- we ourselves would join the discussions and that we -- the P-5+1 has agreed that it would suspend activities in the Security Council, activities going down the pathway of isolation and potential resolutions. So that's the basis of the deal.

QUESTION: But the other side of that is that nobody returns to talks unless they suspend?

MR. MCCORMACK: The condition for getting back into discussions is that they suspend. If they do not -- if they do not suspend and agree to the package, then we go down the other pathway, the pathway of isolation and UN Security Council action.


QUESTION: Do you expect that Solana will be the only point of contact going forward if the Iranians have any questions or, you know, sort of going back and forth, or will other foreign ministers get involved, as far as your under -- you know, Russia, China, the Europeans?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, Mr. Solana is representing the P-5+1 in this regard. The Iranians also have bilateral relations with Russia, with many European countries, so I would expect -- that are party to this package. I wouldn't be surprised if they contacted them as well. But the point here is there is an agreed package. He is the one that is presenting it on behalf of the group. He is fully empowered to answer whatever questions they may have and to go into whatever detail he thinks is necessary in presenting the package.

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