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Remarks on Iran after Security Council Consultations

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks at a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
May 3, 2006

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I don't want to repeat what others have said. We had some pretty extensive negotiation this morning here to produce the text that was introduced by Britain and France. I note some convergence with Ambassador Churkin's view that he might have drafted parts of it a little bit differently. We might have drafted parts of it a little bit differently, but we are going to support this text, it is a good first step. And I look forward to seeing if we can meet Ambassador Churkin's desire to try and finish this by Monday. Analytically, this is very straightforward. This is not complicated; it does not require a lot of negotiation. It is a fairly straight line from the Presidential Statement that we adopted at the end of last month. As a number of people have said, invoking Chapter 7, the mandatory feature of the UN Charter, to impose on Iran mandatorily as a UN member obligations that it has been told three years to undertake and for three years it has declined not to undertake. Now the ball is in Iran's court once again as we report on this resolution. We hope for it's early adoption; we hope for unanimity in the Council, but not unanimity at any price and not unanimity at the price of extensive delay.

REPORTER: Despite what you say about being a straight line from the Presidential Statement, this resolution is far, far more tough than that Presidential Statement. And in terms of negotiations it seems like there is going to be a lot of negotiations required. Is your (inaudible) the kitchen sink of China and Russia?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: This is not the kitchen sink. This is a very simple, slimmed down resolution. I think it is appropriate to the time and it's time to act and time to act quickly.

REPORTER: Ambassador, in a month from now, there is a test out the Nevada called the Divine Strake and military sources have said that this is a simulated nuclear test to possible use against Iran. And I am wondering how sincere this whole diplomatic situation is here considering the rhetoric.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: It's good to see you again. It's a very sincere diplomatic effort.

REPORTER: Since China and Russia have expressed reservations, do you see some compromise? Do you see it one point in time that you will reach some sort of a compromise and come to a decision with their support because without their support you are not going anywhere.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, that's not true. Let me be very clear, we hope for unanimity on the Council. We particularly hope for unanimity among the five permanent members. But this is a resolution, not a presidential statement, so unanimity is not required. Russia and China are permanent members, they can vote for it, they can veto, or they can abstain. And if they abstain, they acquiesce in the terms of the resolution going forward. Now I expect over the next 48 hours we will spend a considerable amount of effort and we're prepared to expend that effort. If it's all night, it's all right to see if we can't get the Perm 5 on board. That's our objective but it is not more important than the resolution itself.

REPORTER: Please just specify what you mean by the word "measures" inside the resolution; and also can you just explain a little bit more what you are asking countries to do in this interdiction paragraph.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think the, in operative paragraph 4, which is a text that could be worded in a lot of different ways, we are simply saying at this critical time, certainly for members of the nuclear suppliers group and others that have access to that technology, this is not the time to be sending it to Iran. This is not the time to be enhancing their capabilities. And I think it is a very reasonable thing to ask

REPORTER: This may not be the kitchen sink, but (inaudible) from the Presidential Statement, could there be bargaining chips that you would obviously remove so the Russians would agree

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think the fundamental point here is whether they are going to agree to a Chapter 7 resolution because of Iran's threat to national peace and security. And if they are prepared to accept that, which I think is central to the resolution, we can see what else is possible.

REPORTER: Ambassador, you have said, and the Russian ambassador has said, that there are things that both of you have said you would have done differently. In the U.S. case, what would have done differently?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, this is another example of Russian-American convergence, we are always happy to see that among the five permanent members. But we will let the negotiations take care of themselves.

REPORTER: Taking the statements given by the Iranian leaders, it seems there is no stopping them to be honest. Are you looking already into punitive measures like sanctions? Are you looking to these?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: We have given Iran, over the course of over a three-year period, innumerable chances to reverse their strategic decision to acquire nuclear weapons. With the adoption of this resolution, hopefully in the next few days, we will give them another chance. But ultimately this rests with Tehran, if they continue to pursue nuclear weapons, we will continue to try and stop them.

REPORTER: How are you going to get the guarantee that you have put in the draft text that there needs to be a guarantee that Iran is no longer pursuing nuclear weapons? How are you going to get that guarantee?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, there are a variety of ways that we can do it. Through verification by the IAEA, national technical means or for example, the paradigm of Libya, which opened up all of its facilities to American and British inspection and allowed us to verify ourselves that indeed Libya was serious about giving up nuclear weapons. I'm just going to take one more because I've got to go.

REPORTER: Have you started working on the option that if it doesn't pass in the Security Council to have a coalition of people who will exert sanctions?

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: I think the imperative of stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons requires that the United States and those who agree with it on that point look at a variety of steps that we can take through peaceful, diplomatic means to deny Iran the technology and the facilities and the expertise they need to gain mastery over the nuclear fuel cycle. Certainly we'd like to do that within the Security Council, but it would not be prudent to ignore other options. Thank you very much.

Released on May 3, 2006

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