Briefing with Spokesperson Sean McCormack on Timetable for Iran (Excerpts)

May 4, 2006

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QUESTION: Change of subject. Iran. Can you just -- do you have any more precision on the timeline of what's going to be happening specifically, if you're going to be expecting a vote on this resolution sometime in the next couple of days?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we hope that there is a vote soon on this. I think Ambassador Bolton talked a little bit about the fact that this should be a very straightforward decision for the members of the Security Council to take. This is very close to what has been out there before in terms of a presidential statement and the IAEA Board of Governors statement. It is tabled as a Chapter 7 resolution. We believe that is appropriate and we believe the time is now for a Chapter 7 resolution. And while I don't have a timeline for you right now, Peter, on when there will be a vote, I know that there was discussion within the Council yesterday on this and there are informal discussions ongoing today and I would expect that to continue tomorrow as well.

On Monday, the Secretary is going to participate in a P-5+1 dinner up in New York. I would expect that, again, the resolution is the topic of conversation as well as looking out beyond what other diplomatic steps might be needed if Iran continues to defy the international community. So we'll see, but we think that there's no reason why there can't be a relatively -- a vote in the relatively near future on this. It's pretty straightforward.

QUESTION: Two things just to follow up. So can we assume then that there probably won't be a vote until the P-5+1 dinner or --

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not going to link a vote to that dinner one way or the other. We'll see. As it stands now, my understanding is that today there are informal discussions and tomorrow there will be informal discussions, so I'm not sure there is, at this point, a meeting scheduled in which they would take a vote. Of course, if there is agreement and unanimity within the Council and agreement on this language, of course one could happen at any time, according to the rules. But at this point, I don't think there is a vote scheduled before Monday.

QUESTION: And just one last thing. Do you have a reading any more on the Russians or the Chinese either way -- abstain, no, yes, whatever?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm going to let them speak for themselves, where they stand, but we're talking to them and they'll be at the dinner on Monday, too.

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QUESTION: On the draft text of the Chapter 7, do you have any sense for when they'll come up with a timeline for when Iran will comply? I know there was an X left in the draft text. Is that something they're going to hammer out this week or that the foreign ministers will decide when they meet? Any sense?

MR. MCCORMACK: At this point, it could be something that is worked out this week. I'm sure even if they do hammer it out, they'll talk about that timeline and then what might come afterwards if Iran fails to comply. We don't think that whatever that timeline is, giving them a chance to comply shouldn't be that long. I think some people have talked in terms of two weeks or a month. We'll see what the final timeline is. But again, this isn't hard. It shouldn't be hard because Iran's pattern of defiance of the international community has been pretty clear over the course of the past several years so we think it's now appropriate for the Security Council to act in a strong manner and pass this resolution.

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