Remarks by Department Spokesperson Ian Kelley on Iranian International Obligations (Excerpts)

December 11, 2009

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Military

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QUESTION: Ian, today the Secretary had some very strong comments about Iran and the Revolutionary Guard. And she seemed to be saying that after the election they have begun to exert even more influence on what is happening in Iran.

MR. KELLY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Was she saying, or can you elaborate a little bit on whether the - let's say, the hardening of the position on the nuclear issue is connected at all to the growing influence of the Revolutionary Guard?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I think - I mean, yes, we do have - I mean, we have grave concerns about the fact that Iran still has not complied with its international obligations. I think that you saw that the EU Council put out a strong statement expressing those concerns, and we certainly echo the concerns that were in the EU Council statement.

I think that we have been quite clear that - quite clear and really quite patient that we have an offer of constructive engagement on the table, and we've been united with our international partners in urging Iran to engage with us productively. And you know about the proposal that's on the table.

We do have concerns about the situation in Iran. We've condemned the violence against those who are peacefully expressing their right to their political views. And we understand that there are some political challenges in Iran right now because of Iran's refusal to respect the right of the people to express their views. You've heard what the President said that we're - we have this offer on the table, this offer of engagement. At the same time, we have another track besides the engagement track, the track of pressure. As it becomes clearer that Iran is unable to make a positive response to this offer of engagement, we're going to start looking more and more to the pressure track.

QUESTION: Can I ask - the State Department, though, is encouraging the Hill to slow down and work on this - on the oil - refined oil petroleum sanctions. And I wonder, are you mainly - are you worried about those kind of sanctions and focusing more on targeted sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think - first of all, I don't think that we're - I don't think we're telling the Hill to slow down. I think that we want to make sure that, whatever kind of package is being considered, that it's the right kind of package. And I think we also want to be sure that whatever we do, we do it multilaterally. I mean, that just makes good practical sense. Any kind of pressure is going to be more effective if it's implemented broadly and not simply bilaterally.

But as we get to the end of the year, which is kind of the loose deadline the President gave, we're going to start looking more and more about - more and more into some of these options that we have. But I wouldn't say that we're discouraging the Congress from doing those things.

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