Rice: Iran's energy projects can eventually be used for weapons programs
Iran-USA, Politics, 2/5/2005
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice alleged Iran is attempting to hide its nuclear weapons-related activities “under cover of civilian nuclear power,” and should live up to its obligations to have verification inspection of its nuclear sites.
Speaking to the press February 4 en route to London, Rice said Iran is attempting to use the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a "cover" of seeking civilian nuclear power, in order to "disguise activities that we believe could lead to a nuclear weapon.”
She said that Europe, the United States, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency need unity of message and unity of purpose with regard to Iran, and to “let them [Iran] know in no uncertain terms that they cannot enjoy the benefits of NPT membership without fully living up to its obligations.”
Rice also criticized Iran for its support of terrorism and for “trying to deal with Iraq in ways that are not transparent.”
U.S. policy, she said, “is to make very clear to the Iranians that those behaviors are not acceptable and to work with others to try and deal with them” through various fora and through a variety of partners.
The secretary said she hoped that those seeking peace in the Middle East recognize that Iran is “one of the strongest supporters of the rejectionists in that process,” such as Hezbollah in Lebanon or Palestinian rejectionist groups.
She said she would be telling European leaders that “you can’t have it both ways.”
“You can’t say that you want peace between Israel and the Palestinians and not do everything that you can to disable the Palestinian rejectionists and Hezbollah,” she said.
When asked if the Bush administration was seeking a change of regime in Tehran, Rice responded that the Iranian people, like others such as the Palestinians, the Iraqis or Ukrainians, “should have a chance to determine their own future.”
“[R]ight now under this regime they have no opportunity to determine their own future,” she said, adding that such a right is “the basis of human dignity.”
Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Rice said she and other Bush administration officials “greatly welcome” Egypt’s initiative to host a summit between the leaders of both sides.
Along with the summit, Rice cited the new Palestinian leadership, Israel’s planned withdrawal from Gaza, and the upcoming London conference on the Middle East as “very big fundamental changes” taking place in the region.
“This is now a process that is moving and moving effectively, and as long as it is moving and moving effectively, we should be deeply satisfied with what is going on here,” she said.
Secretary Rice said the Bush administration is in discussions with Palestinian and World Bank officials, as well as the U.S. Congress, as to how the $350 million in Palestinian aid announced by President Bush in his February 2 State of the Union address will be spent.
Rice encouraged others to contribute in various ways, saying “it is time for everybody to look deep inside and say, ‘if we want the Israeli-Palestinian peace to be achieved and to sustain momentum, what more can we do in terms of assistance, in terms of dealing with terrorist organizations, in terms of sending strong messages to Iran and Syria -- that they will not be allowed to frustrate the efforts of the Palestinians and the Israelis.’”
Asked about North Korea, Rice repeated calls for the country to return to Six-Party Talks and to “make a strategic choice to give up their weapons programs, to dismantle them verifiably and irreversibly.”
“The North Koreans have no reason to believe that the United States intends to attack North Korea, or invade North Korea,” Rice said, adding that any instability on the peninsula would come from “the North Koreans continuing down the road that they’re on.”
“[T]here are other paths for the North Koreans,” she said. “And those are laid out for them, and it’s time for them to get involved in that.”
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