Briefing with Scott McClellan on Israel and Iran

April 13, 2005

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  • Israel

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Q One more question on the Sharon meeting and his meetings yesterday with the Vice President. I guess I'm looking for a way to sum up the Iran question and whether it's our -- the U.S. government's belief that the Israelis have given us new reason for alarm about what Iran is up to.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in terms of our public assessments of the threat from Iran and their ability to develop nuclear weapons -- Admiral Jacoby gave our current public assessment of what the threat is. And that's what it remains. So you might want to go back and look at his remarks from last month where he talked about it.

But in terms of the whole issue, Iran and the development of nuclear weapons, I think that our view has been stated very clearly, and that is that we support the efforts of the Europeans to get Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. We all have a shared goal of making sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. And the Europeans stressed the importance of Iran providing objective guarantees. We want to see this resolved through the diplomatic efforts of the Europeans. We want to see it resolved in a peaceful way, and that's what we're pursuing.

Now, the President and the Prime Minister discussed this issue over lunch the other day in Crawford. They talked about Iran's nuclear programs and our view that Iran's civilian nuclear program is a guise for which they're using to develop nuclear weapons. And that's why it's important that Iran come clean, cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency and that they abide by their other international obligations. And so we'll continue supporting the efforts of the Europeans.

And they did have some discussion about our concerns. We have concerns about Iran's intentions, and we have talked about that with Israel previously. Those are ongoing discussions that we have with them.

Q Are we more concerned after what Sharon said to him?

MR. McCLELLAN: We remain concerned about Iran's intentions. That's the way I would describe it.

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