State Department Press Briefing (Excerpts)

October 11, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

MS NAUERT: Hi, everyone. Good afternoon. A couple of announcements to start off with today, but before I get to that I’d like to say thanks to Robert Palladino for joining us here at the State Department, back at the State Department, and being the deputy spokesman here. As you know, Robert gave his first gaggle off camera yesterday and he did a terrific job. I had the pleasure of sitting in the back of the room for the first time during a briefing, and boy was it intimidating sitting all the way back there and hearing all of your questions. So had I done that before I’d taken this job, I might not have taken this job. (Laughter.) But you did a fantastic job yesterday.


QUESTION: Hi. On the Iranian sanctions, there’s a new round set to take effect in November, and Iraq has been asking for a waiver. What is your position on that?

MS NAUERT: Well, overall with regard to those sanctions that will take effect on November 4th – and you’re referring to the oil sanctions for Iran and countries that choose to continue purchasing oil from Iran – we have conversations with many partners and allies around the world about those sanctions. We make our policies very clear to those countries. We continue to have conversations with the Government of Iraq about that particular issue and the implications for the reimposition of sanctions that were previously lifted or even waived under the JCPOA.

We’ve given the same message to all countries around the world, and the President has said, and that’s that the United States is committee to re-enforcing all of our sanctions. We believe that countries coming together and recognizing the malign influence that Iran has had around the world is important. We know that Iran and the Government of Iran has taken the benefits that it received under the JCPOA and they’ve poured that money not into their own population, not into the good of the people, not into its medical hospitals and things of that nature, but rather they’ve used it for its own nefarious programs.

QUESTION: That sounds like you’re saying no to the Iraqis. Is that --

MS NAUERT: I’m not forecasting anything. You know we don’t forecast that kind of stuff anyway. Okay.

QUESTION: Can I have a quick follow-up on that?

MS NAUERT: Hold on, let’s move on.

QUESTION: I have a follow-up on that.

MS NAUERT: Yes, go right ahead.

QUESTION: Yes. So what is your stand with India placing fresh orders now despite the threat of these U.S. sanctions? And the U.S. has – you have said from this that you are trying to find alternative suppliers for them and all that. Because on Monday the oil minister said that the two state refineries, not the private ones, have placed orders for importing crude oil from Iran in next month.

MS NAUERT: I’ve seen that report. As you all know, we were recently in India where that was a topic of conversation with the Indian Government. The President had addressed it – I believe it was just earlier today – which he was asked about that question about whether or not India would buy oil from Iran after sanctions are reimposed. And the President said – and I’m not going to get ahead of the President, certainly – but he said we’ll take care of that. He was asked also about CAATSA sanctions and the imposition of – possible imposition of CAATSA sanctions. And he said, you know, India is going to find out. And India will find out. We’ll see. So I’m not going to get ahead of him, but certainly when we hear about things such as purchasing oil or purchasing of the S-400 systems, it’s not helpful. The United States Government just reviews that very carefully.

QUESTION: I would like you to find what – or explain what the President was saying. But when he said India will find out, or we will take care of it, do you see a threat? Do you see a friendly, like, okay, we’ll let them do it or we will take care of it?

MS NAUERT: Well, the President doesn’t like to forecast his actions. I can’t speak for the President. I’d just have to refer you back to the White House.