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Interview With Jack Conaty, FOX-WFLD-TV

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Chicago, Illinois
April 19, 2006

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you repeatedly said Russia is just as concerned as we are that Iran not get nuclear weapons. So why do you suppose, or what do you suppose is behind their opposition to strong sanctions?

SECRETARY RICE: The Russians clearly do not want Iran to a get nuclear weapon. After all, Iran is more in their neighborhood than ours and so, I believe them when they say that. We have a disagreement at this point about the potential efficacy of sanctions, but I have not heard the Russians rule out anything, should Iranian behavior continue in this direction. In fact, we have had good meetings with the Russians and I think that we will see more countries starting to consider what sanctions may be necessary against Iran if the Iranians continue in this behavior that is really escalating the situation.

QUESTION: Is there a particular type of sanction that Russia opposes?

SECRETARY RICE: No, we have not had a discussion of that kind, but everybody jumps at the idea that we want them to have sanctions and that worries everyone. What I think you are really seeing is that there is a lack of understanding of how full the range of options could be. We have used (inaudible). We have used political sanctions against countries. There are financial sanctions against countries. There are many possibilities, but I am quite certain that when the Security Council meets at the end of the month or early next month, if the Iranians continue this behavior, then we're going to have to take some kind of action.

QUESTION: A second question. Has the IAEA or the United States been able to verify that Iran has, in fact, enriched uranium on a limited scale?

SECRETARY RICE: We have not had verification that the Iranians have enriched uranium to the 3.5 percent that they said, but we have no reason to doubt that either. It's just that I don't think there's been a verification at this point.

QUESTION: Now for the sake of our audience here in Chicago, and in very plain and well-spoken language, there was a funeral for Marines in our suburbs today, Madame Secretary. What would you say if you were there to the parents?

SECRETARY RICE: I would say to the parents that we honor their sons' service and their sacrifice, because we honor every sacrifice. But nothing of value is ever won without sacrifice and their sons died defending this country, helping to create a world in which we will have more democratic allies, countries that will fight terrorism, and countries that will make a more peaceful world. We had a Middle East that produced the ideology of hatred that produced September 11th. We need a different kind of Middle East and the sacrifices that our men and women are making are helping to create that different (inaudible).

QUESTION: What would you say to Americans here in Chicago who increasingly say we need a different type of policy in Iraq and they are anxious to know when U.S. troops can begin to come home? What would you say to them?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I would say that the goal here is to lay the foundation for a stable and a democratic Iraq so that we can complete the job. That's the goal and that ought to be the measure of what we (inaudible). Now in order to do that, we are training the Iraqi security forces, who daily take more of the responsibility of our forces, making it possible for us to (inaudible) and ultimately to need fewer forces.

But I think every American should understand that we're in Iraq because we believe it will make the world more peaceful and more secure and we will have a Middle East that does not produce the kind of hatred that cost us so dearly. Given that, let's finish the job, and we can finish this job and turn this over to Iraqis who can secure their own future.

QUESTION: I know the White House has always been reluctant to establish any timetables or suggest that there is any time certain for the withdrawal of (inaudible) as much as one soldier from Iraq. But given the pressure of public opinion polls and the President's decreasing popularity in his approval ratings, is there not a sense in this Administration that it's time to alter course at all in Iraq?

SECRETARY RICE: The course has been the same since we overthrew Saddam Hussein and that's to lay the foundation for a democratic Iraq. We've had many changes in how we pursue that course, because we've adjusted (inaudible) circumstances and changed as we learned more about the circumstances. And some of these have not worked and others have worked.

But we are in a different phase now. We're about to have a stable parliament Iraqi government. That will be a first. We're about to have the opportunity to work with an Iraqi army that is rapidly developing into an army that can secure it now and can secure Iraq. And we are about to have the U.S. presence be more of one that is supporting the Iraqis' in their own cause, rather than taking the front lines. And so (inaudible) could see that that evolution has been taking place and that we've reached an important and critical phase.

QUESTION: And to those critics who suggest that our presence there, in fact, makes us -- or puts us in greater danger than it makes us safer, you would say what?

SECRETARY RICE: I would say that people who think that we somehow disturbed the Middle East with our invasion of Iraq have got to look at what the Middle East was like and have got to look at the fact that Saddam Hussein was a threat to peace and security. That has been agreed by the world, multiple resolutions. We have to look back at the fact that this is a regional (inaudible) produced the world's ideology that is this ideology of hatred. We didn't disturb the Middle East. We are in the process of trying to create a (inaudible) and that is going to make America more secure.

Let me say one other thing. I know it's hard. I know that when you look at the pictures of violence every day, I know that when you know how many Americans have given their lives and others who have come back wounded I know how hard it is to believe that progress is before us, but it's a lot easier to see the violence on television than to see the process of politics that is going to supplant that violence and make Iraq a stable, democratic ally for the United States for a long time to come and (inaudible) Middle East with a stable, democratic ally in Iraq.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you.


Released on April 20, 2006

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