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Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Bob Jordan, WGN-TV
Chicago, Illinois
April 19, 2006


Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release April 20, 2006

QUESTION: You mentioned today -- start off talking about Iraq policy and Iran. Many people seem to think that even though we are still in Iraq, that looming in the background is this whole idea of what to do about Iran.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, Iran is a difficult case. And no one wants a nuclear armed Iran. It would be very (inaudible) and very volatile. But we have a lot of diplomatic options at our disposal. This is just the beginning of a diplomatic initiative. We believe very strongly that if the world remains united, if it confronts Iran with a strong choice, either to seek the demands of the international community or get (inaudible) that Iran will accede to those demands. The international community, though, has to remain really unified in order to get that reaction and that's what we work on is the unity of the international community.

QUESTION: With or without the unity of the international community, how far are we willing to go to make sure that their nuclear capabilities don't come to fruition?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I -- the international community has got to do that, not just the United States. I was saying to the Russians at one point, Iran is in their neighborhood. They don't want a nuclear armed Iran in their neighborhood. Iran is the central bank on terrorism. Do we want an Iran with nuclear arms with a President that talks about wiping Israel off the map with a nuclear weapon? This isn't just a problem for the United States, it's a problem for the world. And so what we are doing is working with our allies and we have very good coordination with our allies. Now the (inaudible) take any of the options off the table. He has to (inaudible) his options.

But we know that Iraq is not -- Iran is not Iraq. But this is a different set of circumstances in that this is a case that has a diplomatic course available.

QUESTION: I filled up my car this morning and paid $3.18 a gallon for gas. And we're hearing that talk of $100 a barrel of gas. I won't even ask you to speculate about that. But what's the -- what's happening with the saber rattling of Venezuela and Hugo Chavez and what's our position there?

SECRETARY RICE: Now there is no doubt that we face a difficult situation in the energy markets. It's a very fast growing economy for China -- the Chinese President will be here on India and other places. Oil consumption is a part of this. And what the President has wanted to do is to help the world diversify away from (inaudible) products because this is a supply problem and we have to take this as a long-term problem. And it is also the case that oil is distorting international politics in different ways because some of the countries that have oil are being prepared to try to use it as a weapon or at least have threatened to use it as a weapon.

But I think we need to remain calm and (inaudible) because many of these countries that brandish and threaten also (inaudible) had oil revenues. And they cannot make the world suffer without making themselves suffer. And so I would just ask people to remain calm about some of the saber rattling that we hear.

QUESTION: I guess, finally, are you prepared to talk about Rumsfeld and what we've been hearing and I guess there was a resignation this morning about the Press Secretary and what's the President saying with respect to his backing him, you know?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, look, the White House staff is making some changes and it is almost six years and it's been a long six years and -- five and half years -- and I think people recognize that some change is good and that these were people who served the President admirably and the people who are coming onboard, people that I know well, people like Rob Portman who'll go to the Office of Management and Budget. And I'm quite sure that Josh Bolten who's the new chief of staff will is (inaudible) to serve the President very well. As for Secretary Rumsfeld, the President's made very clear that Secretary Rumsfeld has his confidence. And I want to make clear that Secretary Rumsfeld has the confidence of colleagues (inaudible) like me, I am honored to serve with him. He has been a dedicated servant. Nobody's worked harder to (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you, Madame. Appreciate it.



Released on April 20, 2006

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