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Remarks on Iran

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks to the media following a Security Council Stakeout
New York City
November 15, 2007


Ambassador Khalilzad: Good afternoon, we have received and reviewed the report of the Director General of IAEA with regard to Iranian nuclear program, IAEA's effort to verify whether Iran has implemented the relevant elements of the Security Council Resolutions on its nuclear program. And based on our review of the document it is clear that Iran has not fully cooperated. The IAEA has not had full access to P1 and P2 centrifuges. Iran has not suspended, according to IAEA, its enrichment of uranium. It, Iran, has continued its work to build a heavy water reactor, the IR-40. And Iran has continued to produce heavy water. And based on these and other issues raised in the Director General's report and his own statement that he will start looking at the militarily relevant parts of the program we believe that we need to move forward with another resolution in the Security Council under Chapter 7 to impose additional sanctions on Iran.

Reporter: Ambassador, how do you think you can do that, considering that yesterday you weren't even able to persuade China to have a Council statement on Burma and they are on record as opposing sanctions and they say they don't even want it at the Security Council?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, what we didn't get yesterday was a presidential statement. We did get a statement but not a presidential statement. We would have preferred to get a presidential statement on Burma. We appreciate the cooperation of China in the past with regards to Burma in facilitating the work of Mr. Gambari. But we were disappointed by their unwillingness to support a PRST, a presidential statement, they only were willing to support a statement. We worked hard to persuade them to go for a PRST but they did not cooperate. With regard to Iran too we expect and will seek Chinese cooperation. The indications are mixed so far. There has been a dragging of feet by the Chinese in terms of participation in the political directors meeting to come to an agreement on a new resolution as quickly as possible. But I don't think the Chinese would want to stand in the way of effective diplomacy to deal with this issue because only a strong resolution with new and biting sanctions will give diplomacy a change to succeed and I don't think China would want to be in a position to cause failure of diplomacy to deal with this issue. I think it's in everyone's interest for this world defining issue to be resolved diplomatically and for diplomacy to work, for diplomacy to succeed it needs widely supported broad and biting sanctions to effect the calculations of the regime in Iran.

Reporter: Are you saying that without diplomatic success there will be other options? Military options perhaps?

Ambassador Khalilzad: We have said that we prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically. We have said that we are in the phase of diplomacy. I'm saying that for diplomacy to work it needs the broadest cooperation, certainly by P5 but also appropriate diplomatic pressure to have the best chance for diplomacy to work. And I do not believe the Chinese would want to take responsibility for failure of diplomacy by not cooperating with the effort at additional sanctions.

Reporter: First of all, is Russia in a similar position as China in what you call dragging their feet and secondly are you holding those who will not agree to the sanctions responsible for going to the military option?

Ambassador Khalilzad: I say that those who will not cooperate with diplomacy which requires for it to be effective for there to be additional sanctions, strong sanctions that they would have responsibility for failure of diplomacy. I want to make sure that everyone understands that. And at this point in the recent days there has been a dragging of the feet on the part of the Chinese, yes.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, which phase do you think we're in? You talked about the phase of diplomacy, are we in the beginning of that phase, are we at the end of that phase, is it rapidly coming to an end?

Ambassador Khalilzad: I'm not going to talk a great deal about that in terms of the phases. Certainly we are still in the phase of diplomacy and we want to move as quickly as possible to the need for a new resolution with additional sanctions to be imposed. That's where we are.

Reporter: Ambassador, how urgent is this issue as far as you are concerned and how rapidly do you foresee this going through the Security Council? Are we going to look at a longwinded battle here?

Ambassador Khalilzad: This is one of the most important issues that we face. The issue of Iran's nuclear program because Iran is seeking regional hegemony, because Iran has ties terrorist organizations, because Iran's support for insurgent groups in Iraq and in Afghanistan, because of the rhetoric of the Iranian leaders. Given all that, it is a defining issue and therefore the international community as a state, the international community as a whole as a state in doing all that we can diplomatically to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Thank you very much, thank you.

Reporter: (inaudible) enrichment at the moment. That there are many nations who want nuclear enrichment capibiltiy. How does the Security Council, how does the IAEA deal with the issue of a country that wants the ability to do enrichment without accusing them of military activity?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, we understand and we have stated repeatedly that if what motivates Iran is the desire to have reliable fuel for its reactors a solution can be found. At this point what the international community has asked of Iran in two resolutions is to suspend the build up of enrichment, to suspend the heavy water reactor build up, the production of heavy water reactor. Now I think that if Iran's concern is reliable fuel we understand that and we are willing to work with the Iranian government to deal with that problem. Not only we have stated that, several other countries have stated that as well including Russia. But given that a lot that has happened Iran has not declared, given that a lot that has been promised to be provided in terms of even information and access has not yet been provided, additional protocols for inspections has not been implemented. There are questions about the objectives of this regime. We suspect that the objective is not purely peaceful production of electricity because if it was there are ways to deal with that but that there is the desire as part of an overall program of Iranian foreign policy to have nuclear weapons capability. That is what we suspect. Thank you very much.

Released on November 15, 2007

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