Skip to comments.DOS Daily Press Briefing: Transcript [IRAN] Subversive Journalism Alert!
Posted on 09/28/2005 5:20:31 PM PDT by humint
QUESTION: What's your reaction to the protests in Iran around the British Embassy? This is a reaction to the IAEA vote, I presume, were there to be a U.S. embassy, they would be protesting there.
MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Well, I'll leave it to those on the ground to describe the protests there and who might be organizing those protests. The position where Iran finds itself right now, I think, is one that is probably a surprise to them after the IAEA Board of Governors vote. And where they find themselves is more isolated from the international community than when they started. And I think you can really trace back the point at which they started to further isolate themselves in the most recent sense to the Iranian President's speech before the General Assembly and their failure to field any ground whatsoever in the run-up to the Board of Governors' vote. The EU-3 as well as other members of the Board of Governors urged the Iranians to return to the negotiating table, to cooperate with the IAEA, to answer those outstanding questions that the international community has regarding Iran's nuclear programs and what we say is their pursuit of nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program. So what we have now is a statement of finding of noncompliance of Iran with their international obligations. Iran now has an opportunity. They have an opportunity in the coming days, weeks and months to return to the negotiations with the EU-3, engage in those negotiations in a constructive manner and also to cooperate with the IAEA. There will be a report from the IAEA to the Security Council and what is in that report, describing Iran's actions and the state of the cooperation with the international community will be up to Iran. We'll see if they decide to cooperate. We'll see if they decide to return to negotiations. But what the Iranian Government heard was a very clear message from the international community and that message was that the international community does not want Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. That would be a destabilizing action and they also made it very clear they don't think that Iran should have -- because of its past behavior, access to sensitive nuclear fuel cycles. So we'll see. We'll see what the coming days and weeks brings, but it really is up to Iran in terms of their actions and what they do and what is contained in that report to the Security Council. Yes.
QUESTION: You are not afraid that Iran could radicalize its position and leave or stop cooperating with the IAEA altogether?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, what we've seen is that the defiant Iranian attitudes towards the international community has gotten to the point where they find themselves now, and that is further isolated than when they began. They were in negotiations with the EU-3. The EU-3 was engaged in those negotiations in good faith, trying to resolve the issue. And that issue concerns Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, so we'll see what Iran -- what actions Iran does and what attitude that they have. But I think that what the international community has seen through this speech at the United Nations, as well as in its subsequent actions, is really the true face of this new government and so we'll see. We'll see what Iran does in the coming days and weeks. We urge them to return to the negotiating table and to negotiate with the IAEA and to cooperate with the IAEA.
QUESTION: The situation here is that being cornered may contribute to a situation where they strike out even more radically than they would have otherwise. For instance, they're threatening to proceed with enrichment of uranium. And yesterday a former top State Department official has said that there's some belief within the administration they've actually begun that, buying technology around the world. Aren't you concerned that if cornered, Iran might be even more dangerous? I don't want to draw parallels, you know, too soon, but you know, you've begun to speak soothingly to North Korea and stopped beating on their heads and -- I mean, the State Department -- and maybe it paid dividends, maybe it didn't. I think the suggestion or the question -- (inaudible) the same thought, is isn't there some concern here that Iran is being cornered and isolated? Doesn't that have a bad -- couldn't that have bad results?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, any isolation that the Iranians may or may not feel is a result of their actions. I think the lesson that the international community is drawing from the Iran experience, as well as the six-party experience, is that if they act in concert through multilateral diplomacy and if they stay together and act on principle, then you can -- you get results. With the six-party talks, we have a Statement of Principles now. We have said that this is a step forward. There's a lot of hard work left to do, but again, a positive a step forward. With respect to the IAEA Board of Governors vote, what you have is an increasingly unified international front sending the same message to Iran. And we'll see if, again, what Iran does in the coming weeks and months. They have threatened to resume enrichment. They haven't, as far as we know, they have not resumed enrichment.
QUESTION: Have they taken steps towards that?
MR. MCCORMACK: Again, Barry, I can't, you know, I can't parse this out for you As far as we know, they have not actually resumed enrichment. If we do come to that pass, we will deal with the facts as they are before us. But as we've seen statements coming out of Tehran, it's actions that really matter and we'll, like I said, we'll see what the future brings us.
QUESTION: Are you encouraged by the statements you've heard out of Iran since the Board of Governors vote on Saturday?
MR. MCCORMACK: Again, you know, I think you've seen a variety of different statements coming out of Iran. What matters is their actions, whether or not they return -- again, return to the negotiations with the EU-3. The EU-3 has put together a very attractive proposal for Iran to consider. And in fact, there were signs prior to this new government coming into office that there were serious discussions regarding that proposal. We've seen a change in direction since this new government has come into office and we'll see what they do and see what they -- how they react. And we'll see how they -- what sort of cooperation they have with the IAEA. It's time for them to cooperate. There's a long list of questions that are before them. They need to start answering them.
QUESTION: We've heard it said that the nuclear program in Iran has become a source of national pride and that this might be contributing to the increasing bellicosity on the part of the new regime or the increasing intransigence in the negotiations. Has the United States Government been able to perceive that this is, in fact, a source of national pride in Iran?
MR. MCCORMACK: Again, you know, I don't have an analysis of the Iranian electorate in terms of whether or not they support pursuit of a nuclear weapon vice a peaceful nuclear program. You know, that I don't -- I don't have that sort of analysis for you. But I think what the world said that it is concerned about is that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon and that they not have access, because of their past behaviors, to those sensitive nuclear fuel cycle technologies and know-how that might lead to development of a weapon. So that's where the discussion is right now and we'll see what the Iranians do.
QUESTION: I ask only in the sense that popular sentiment in a foreign country can contribute to the calculus of U.S. policymakers.
MR. MCCORMACK: No, I understand. I understand, James. Again, you know, I don't know that there has been or there is a reliable measure of exactly what the Iranian populace views concerning, you know, peaceful nuclear research vice -- versus pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
QUESTION: Or just support for Ahmadi-Nejad.
MR. MCCORMACK: Again -- well, I mean, he was elected President. But you know, again, we stated our concerns about the election and how it unfolded.
QUESTION: Is it true, though, that, you know, if you go as far back as the Shah of Iran that they were pursuing this program? So it clearly does have the support of almost the whole spectrum of the popular --
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, you have to be --
QUESTION: Doesn't that concern you? I mean, it implicates Pakistan.
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, look, you have to be clear about what program are you talking about. Are you talking about pursuit of nuclear weapons? Well, that is being done in a covert manner and I'm not sure that there's been any free and open debate about that within Iranian society.
What kind of spineless question is this... I wish the DOS transcripts included the journalists names so the public might better detect and hold accountable subversive journalism. Iran broke international law and they must be held accountable. The question should have been
Q: What does the U.S. see as more serious, Irans non-compliance of IAEA protocols or Irans threats to withdrawal from the nuclear NPT if they are held accountable for their non-compliance? And are there any alternative means to encourage Iran to comply besides building an international consensus at the IAEA, the governing body responsible for such maters.
Setting economics aside, even if speculative uranium deposits in Iran are assumed and included, Iran is not close to possessing sufficient uranium to fuel seven 1000 MWe for their lifetime. It is thus impossible for Iran to avoid dependence on a foreign supplier for its uranium fuel.
Iran could save $59 - $161 million per year by purchasing fuel from abroad.
If Iran were to invest $5.6 billion in a high gasoline yield Western-type refinery, it could eliminate its dependence on imported gasoline and increase its annual net oil related revenue by approximately $982 million.
Iran does not have enough uranium to fuel its planned reactors -- 1.Known uranium (1,427) + speculative (13,850) = 15,277 tons U -- 2. Assume Bushehr burns 22 tons of LEU annually. With 7 reactors Iran could only run them for 10Years with its own uranium resources.
As noted, Iran's uranium resources cannot support the peaceful program Iran says it is pursuing. However, Iran's uranium resources are more than sufficient to support a nuclear weapons capability. The Gachin mine's output (~21 tonnes/yr) alone could supply enough uranium, if enriched, to produce ~4 nuclear weapons/yr.
Mine M_26_13 is located at the Gachin Uranium Mill but is listed only as the Sandrasang mine near the village of Gachin for "building stone".
Covert facility in remote location, could enrich uranium for weapons. Dummy structures to prevent detection and identification. Concealed underground, hardened, well defended.
June 2004-March 2005, significant progress on Heavy Water plant construction. Full production of primary line planned for 2005. Despite IAEA Board request to forgo construction, reactor is well underway and progressing rapidly. Iran says reactor needed for medical and industrial isotopes
A capability already inherent in Iran's 10 Megawatt Tehran Research Reactor.
A History of Concealment & Deception. Long-standing IAEA safeguards violations show that Iran kept its nuclear activities hidden until they were first revealed by others. Iran's provision of "changing or contradictory information," as described by the Director General, leaves major issues remain unresolved: Apart from "contamination", the full extent of centrifuge research and development; The full extent of plutonium experimentation; Military involvement in any nuclear activity.
[Presenter] Russia is ready to ship to Iran the first consignment of nuclear fuel destined for Bushehr nuclear power plant under the terms of a contract signed in late January. It will take about 80 tonnes of the nuclear fuel to start off the reactor of this new power plant. Dmitriy Ivanov reports from Novosibirsk.
[Correspondent] The lid on the capsule containing dangerous substance is being carefully sealed, marked and placed in the storage bay. The Novosibirsk chemical concentrates plant has produced another batch of nuclear fuel for Iran. It will be kept until ready for shipping to the Middle East, which will happen as soon as Bushehr reactor is commissioned. The nuclear fuel producers of Siberia think it will be in early autumn this year.
The first to be shipped to Iran are the so-called imitation rods -- fuel rods similar to these ones here and the same weight, only containing lead. According to specialists, they are needed for testing the power station's equipment. The nuclear fuel rod is packed with about 300 fuel elements -- "tvels", in nuclear jargon. They look like 3 meter-long metal cylinders. Each contains about 1.5 kg of radioactive uranium, pressed into tablets. The section where these tablets are being produced is considered the most dangerous at the plant because of high radiation levels. [Questions a factory employee who is packing tablets using built-in special gloves inside a sealed cabinet] The radiation inside there must be very high indeed?
[Employee] Yes, quite high. But this glass box and its stainless steel frame offer nearly complete protection from radiation.
[Correspondent] These nuclear tablets are just a step in the long production process. Precision and careful handling are essential at every stage of production. After the fuel rod is assembled, the finished product undergoes several stages of quality control. The Iranian contract is for about 80 tonnes of nuclear fuel. This is how much the plant needs to start off. Every year, a quarter of the fuel will be removed from the reactor and replaced with fresh one. Thus, Novosibirsk plant hopes for a long-term cooperation with Iran.
[Vladimir Razin, captioned as general director of Novosibirsk chemical concentrates plant] Under the contract, spent fuel will be returned to Russia -- for storage or for reprocessing. Both technologies are employed in world practice.
[Correspondent] However, spent nuclear fuel will not be returned to Russia that soon. Safety regulations dictate that it must first be kept in a so-called cooling pond for a minimum of 10 years. [Video shows the plant's production facilities]
Where are these so called cooling ponds going to be located and what is the IAEA's responsability durring this window of cooling time?
[Description of Source: Moscow Russia TV RTR in Russian -- Large state-owned network broadcasting to almost all of Russia]
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