Interview of Vice President Richard Cheney by Martha Raddatz, ABC News (Excerpts)

March 24, 2008

4:12 P.M. (Local)

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Q One of the major issues you've discussed on this trip is Iran. And you talked about Iran and some other places as a "darkening shadow on the region." In what ways is that manifesting itself of late?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I hear about it virtually every place I go. The concerns that leaders in the region have for what they see happening in Iran, and what they see Iran doing in the region is perhaps not universal, but it's close to it. And that goes with everything from their support for Hezbollah, their efforts -- working through the Syrians, for example, to interfere with the political process inside Lebanon, they've supported Hamas with the intention, I believe, of trying to disrupt the peace process.

Obviously, they're also heavily involved in trying to develop nuclear weapons enrichment, the enrichment of uranium to weapons grade levels. So if you put all of that together, and you see that range of activity that Iran is engaged in, it's very disturbing to many of the leaders in the region, because they believe that if Iran stays on the course that they're on, that it does offer the prospects for instability, and it's a threat to the regimes in the area.

Q You said today that Hamas is doing everything they could do with the support of Iran and Syria to torpedo the peace process. Are Iran and Syria trying to torpedo the peace process?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I believe they are.

Q Independent of Hamas, through Hamas?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Through Hamas in the case of Gaza, obviously, but I think they have in the past through Hezbollah. They provided significant additional weapons now to Hezbollah. Hezbollah went through the dust up with the Israelis in '06, they've been completely resupplied by the Iranians, oftentimes providing materials through the Syrians and then flying materials into Damascus and then taking them by road into Lebanon.

The headquarters of Hamas and Hezbollah and Palestine and Islamic Jihad, they all have significant representation in Damascus; that's where they operate from. There's been a very close relationship over the years, obviously, between Iran and Hezbollah. I don't think there's any question but what Iran and Syria have no interest in seeing the peace process succeed. That's a conclusion that I arrived at not just on my own, but also from talking with people in the region.

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