Press Briefing with State Department Deputy Spokesperson J. Adam Ereli on Iranian Threat to End Talks with the EU-3 (Excerpts)

April 20, 2005

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

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QUESTION: On Iran. Hassan Rowhani, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council has threatened to end talks with the EU-3 unless Tehran's ideas for a compromise are accepted for the basis of negotiations. You said that if they felt the talks were making progress, they were willing to talk for another month or two, but they weren't going to do this for years. Any comment on that?

MR. ERELI: Iran faces a choice. They are being given an opportunity through the EU-3 to, I guess, satisfy the concerns of the international community, come clean about their program, and embark on a pathway toward international acceptance and integration in the international community. That's choice number one and we certainly think that there's -- it's in Iran's interest and it's certainly in all of our interest for them to choose that path.

The other path is walking away from dialogue, walking away from engagement, walking away from international commitments and honoring promises made and cutting off dialogue with the EU-3 and walking away from cooperation with international institutions that have legitimate questions that they haven't answered. That is a choice that leads to further international isolation, the exacerbation of suspicions and, frankly, we think is an unproductive direction to go in. But I can't speak for Iran. They are going to have to decide for themselves. We think we have laid out a clear -- in cooperation with our European partners -- a clear and compelling way forward that serves -- certainly serves our interest. It serves the international community in allaying concerns about a clandestine nuclear program that we think Iran is following.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on -- there's a report from the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which, as you know, released a lot of information a couple of years ago, much of which appears to have been borne out. They say that Iran is building a tunnel for a new underground enrichment facility at Parchin. Do you have any reason to believe that's accurate?

MR. ERELI: I don't have any information to share with you on that particular report. Obviously, we're interested in any information that is out there about Iran's program because it is so secretive and because it is so potentially destabilizing. These are issues and areas that we follow closely that we try to find out as much as we can about, but I don't have anything particular on this one.

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