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Remarks Following Interview on This Week With George Stephanopolous

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
September 28, 2003

2003/976

QUESTION: (In progress ) the Washington Post article, the one that says that the pre-Iraq war data was outdated, sketchy and not strong enough is coming from the House Intelligence Committee.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the CIA has responded to that. They are quite confident with the judgments they made, judgments that were presented to the Congress, in their national intelligence estimate last fall.

And as the CIA statement says this morning, they hope that Mr. Goss and Ms. Harman will look in greater detail at the information they have provided them. So the Director of Central Intelligence stands behind the judgments that he made, and the judgments that he provided to the policymakers of this Administration.

QUESTION: What's your reaction to President Putin saying yesterday that he will continue to help Iran build nuclear reactors?

SECRETARY POWELL: I'm not surprised at all. We didn't think he wouldn't continue with the one reactor that has been sold to Iran. The question is how that reactor is used and how fuel is provided to the reactor, the fuel itself, that gives us the problem and gives the material (inaudible) nuclear weapons.

We believe that Iran should sign the initial protocol that it has been asked sign, and take whatever other actions are appropriate to satisfy the international community that their nuclear power program -- (inaudible) nuclear power program is not a basis for developing a nuclear weapon.

We are concerned about this. We expressed our concerns. At the beginning of this Administration, a lot of people sort of thought that we were overreacting. But in recent months, everybody has now come to the conclusion that something is going on inside of Iran. And that's why the IAEA, International Atomic Energy Agency, took the action that it is taking and why Russia now is standing alongside the United States.

As you heard our two presidents say yesterday, is concerned, and we have to put these questions to Iran and ask for answers. As President Putin said, ask in a respectful manner, but there are questions that must be answered.

Thank you.


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