Press Conference with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (Excerpts)

May 9, 2006

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QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. We hear that there is a package agreed, in principle, amongst the five permanent members. It's called the carrots and sticks package on Iran. My question, is that so -- is everybody on board with that and is sitting together between the United States and Iran at the same table, part of that package? And secondly, would you address if Lebanon and Syria resolution has been discussed between you and your counterparts, Chinese and Russians, in particular?

SECRETARY RICE: On Lebanon and Syria, I think there is an understanding that we need to move forward to acknowledge the 1559 report of Mr. Larsen. I expect to discuss this in some detail with my French colleague later today.

On the course before us on Iran, we discussed last night the importance of the Council speaking in a united voice to tell the Iranians, in no uncertain terms, that they need to accede to the demands of the international community. And we are going to do that through a resolution which demonstrates to Iran that they have no other choice. The United States has long supported an effort to -- by the Russians, an effort by the EU to make available to the Iranian regime, should they choose to do so, a way to fulfill aspirations for a civil nuclear program. And that is what is being discussed, as how might that be made available again.

But I want to be very clear; the international community is united that there must be a strong message to Iran, through the Security Council, that their behavior to date is unacceptable and that they need to return to the negotiating table. I would just like to say to the people of Iran, obviously, if there is a way for Iran to accept the will of the international community, to accept proposals for civil nuclear power, this is the time for Iran to take that possibility, because no one wants to isolate the Iranian people. The Iranian regime is isolating the Iranian people. The international community is not doing so.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary?


QUESTION: Can a vote on Iran on the Chapter 7 resolution still happen this week or anytime soon? Is the time an issue?

SECRETARY RICE: Look, we're going to take the time that we need to make certain that the members of the international community have an opportunity to develop a strategy moving forward. That's what we did last night. The ministers spoke together for a very long time. I can tell you it was a very long time. We had a rather late night and it was about strategy going forward. We were not sitting there negotiating the terms of a resolution. The permanent representatives will do that. The political directors are going to meet again next week to talk about how to move forward.

We want to do this right. Obviously, this needs to be resolved because Iran continues to step forward and continues to improve its nuclear capability, so yes, there is some urgency to getting this done, but we also want to get it done right and with as much unity as possible. And we have considerable agreement on -- I would say total agreement on the view that Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, that Iran must accede to the requirements put forward in the IAEA Board of Governors resolution and memorialized in a presidential statement and that Iran needs now to suspend its programs and go back to the negotiating table.

As we discuss tactics of how to send that message to Iran, we're going to take the time to discuss it and to do that. But there is no disagreement whatsoever that it is incumbent on the Iranian Government to respond to the requirements that have been put before it.

I'll take one more. Yes.

QUESTION: Just following up on that, the Russians and the Chinese have made clear that they oppose putting a resolution on -- under Chapter 7 which the United States, Britain and France insist upon. The second thing is that there has been some possibility raised that -- of putting the resolution under Chapter 7, but only Article 40, which does not -- is only a preliminary step. Would that be acceptable to the United States? Is Chapter 7 a red line for the United States?

SECRETARY RICE: The United States believes very strongly in a mandatory statement from the Security Council to Iran. You know that our view is a Chapter 7 resolution. I'm not going to get into the diplomacy of what has been discussed. Let's just give the diplomacy a little time to work. I know on a number of occasions there have been reports: this will not happen, that will not happen. We are in the Security Council. We are discussing a way to make it absolutely clear to Iran that they must comply. And we are going to do that in a unified way and we will discuss the tactics of that. We're going to continue to discuss the tactics of that. And as I said, the political directors will meet next week. Anne.

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