Press Conference with Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, Stephen Rademaker on Statement to the U.N. General Assembly

October 3, 2005

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: I'm Steve Rademaker, Assistant Secretary of State. I didn't come with prepared remarks for the press. I just delivered a speech in which I talked about our non-proliferation and arms control agenda including Iran, but perhaps if I could just respond to questions, if you could identify whom you're with.

Reporter: What is the latest on Iran in terms of the prospect of a referral in November?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: You're aware of the action of the Board of Governors last Saturday on September 26th. I think the upshot of the Board's decision was to give Iran another opportunity to consider whether it wants to continue going down the path it's going down. We hope, and I think the other members of the Board of Governors hope that Iran would use this opportunity that's been extended to them to reconsider what they're doing, and to change course and suspend, or re-suspend, the uranium conversion and reengage in the diplomatic process with the EU 3.

Reporter: Evelyn Leopold, Reuters. Can you elaborate on the nuclear freeze for Russia in Iran on (inaudible)?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: I didn't say anything about any country in particular; I merely made the observation that as I indicated in my remarks, the self-evident observation, that in the face of a finding of compliance with the IAEA Board of Governors, all countries should suspend nuclear cooperation with Iran.

Reporter: Is there any evidence? Are there any other projects besides Russia's going on there that concerns you, and have you talked to the Russians about your (inaudible)?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: I think every country would need to look for itself to see if there is any nuclear cooperation at any level taking place from their country with the Iranians. There is, as you know, technical cooperation in the nuclear area supported by the IAEA with Iran.

Reporter: Is there any other country that you know that is cooperating with Iran?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: I'm not prepared to name any other country. As I said, I think every country would want to - would certainly - it would be in the view of the United States that every country should make sure that it's not engaging in nuclear cooperation.

Reporter: Nick Wadhams, AP. Sir, are you ready to call on Russia directly to end its cooperation with Iran on power plant and training of Iranian nuclear (inaudible)?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: I think the statement I gave today speaks for itself.

Reporter: inaudible

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: I have no news to announce on the Six Party Talks. As you know, two weeks ago there was agreement on the joint statement and there's an effort underway now to arrange the next meeting to follow up on the joint statement.

Reporter: Two weeks ago there was also a meeting of the Board of Governors (inaudible)?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: I would refer you to the statement that was issued by Ambassador Hill at the time of the Six Party Talks. And at the time the joint statement was issued, he indicated, in that statement, which is available on the State Department website, that we believe that the time has come to shut down (inaudible).

Reporter: What's the next step in Vienna on Iran? Is the action still there?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: As I said, I think everyone hopes that Iran will use this opportunity to change course. If they don't, then the Board of Governors was very clear in the resolution that was adopted on the 26th. The Board said that it will take up the question of fulfilling the obligation that it now has under the IAEA statute to report the Iran matter to the Security Council and to the General Assembly.

Reporter: Will there be another resolution vote required though to take that specific step?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: That is the mechanism by which the IAEA Board of Governors would fulfill that undertaking.

Reporter: when would you expect that to happen?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: There's been talk that such a meeting might take place in November, but I don't think any agreement has been reached on when that would happen. As I said, there is a hope that Iran will reconsider.

Reporter: There's no deadline on the US side (inaudible)?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: Oh certainly, we're not imposing a deadline, no.

Reporter: Do you expect more pressure from (inaudible) to make the move toward disarmament as well as the Russians?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: I'm sorry, from whom? Who would make some?

Reporter: From all the, most of the people attending the First Committee that you just left?

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: We're not asking for action by the First Committee on this. As you know, the Board of Governors in its action on the 26th of September found a lot of noncompliance, but chose not to take the next step that it is required to take, which is to report the matter to the Security Council and to the General Assembly.

Reporter: I meant from the UN for the US to make some sort of gesture toward disarmament.

Assistant Secretary Rademaker: You'll note that at the end of my remarks, I updated the other delegations to the First Committee on the latest developments in US nuclear disarmament, and it turns out that on the 19th of last month we completed the deactivation of our Peacekeeper ICBM force. Three years ago we had 50 ICBMs each capable of carrying 10 nuclear warheads. On September 19th, the last of these 50 missiles was deactivated. And I reported this to the First Committee.