Joint Press Conference with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer (Excerpts)

March 16, 2006

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Related Country: 

  • Iran

. . .

QUESTION: Dr. Rice, you said that Iran may pose the biggest challenge of any state (inaudible) United States. The Security Council this week seems to be unable to agree on this issue. If that remains the case, what would be the next step for the U.S. and what role would you like to see Australia play in dealing with challenge from Iran?

And I want to also ask you a question about another subject you say you discussed, which was India and the nuclear cooperation agreement. Would you like to see Australia supplying uranium to India under that agreement?

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, on Iran, Iran is a challenge because it is seeking to have a nuclear program that would allow it to develop a nuclear weapon and it's doing that, we believe, under cover of the NPT and it's lied about its activities and therefore is in contradiction to its requirements or to its obligations under the NPT. It also, of course, is involved as a central banker of terrorism and so Iran is to be -- we have many reasons to be concerned about Iran. It also, by the way, has an unelected few who repress the desires of its population. So it is a troublesome state.

The Security Council has now taken up the issue. I'm quite certain that the Security Council will find an appropriate vehicle for expressing again to the Iranians the desire and indeed the demand of the international community that Iran return to negotiations, having suspended the activities that it began in contradiction of its requirements under the Paris Agreement, and that it's time for Iran to heed the international community's call.

I'm sure we'll find the right vehicle for that. The negotiations are underway. I would caution that we not try early to determine how those negotiations are going to come out. That's what negotiations are like. And I've been in contact with my counterparts.

I really do appreciate the fact that Australia has been stalwart in also calling on Iran to find an arrangement that would be acceptable to the international community in terms of its proliferation risk and I'm sure that Australia will continue to play that very active role.

. . .