Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - January 20, 2005 - Condoleezza Rice Voices Tough Line on Iran
Posted on 01/20/2005 12:57:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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Condoleezza Rice Voices Tough Line on Iran
Wed Jan 19, 2005 01:48 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice articulated a firm U.S. line against Iran's ruling mullahs, whose nuclear ambitions the Bush administration considers a major threat, in testimony at her Senate confirmation hearings.
In two days of Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings that ended on Wednesday, Rice repeatedly emphasized differences with Tehran's clerical leaders, saying: "It's really hard to find common ground with a government that thinks Israel should be extinguished."
Rice did not rule out an eventual U.S. acceptance of a Europe-Iran nuclear energy technology deal, but did not endorse it.
"At some point Iran has to be held accountable for its unwillingness to live up to its international obligations," she said of the nuclear issue.
Some U.S. sources have said the administration is reviewing its Iran policy, which in Bush's first four years was the subject of intense debate.
Some Republican conservatives advocate a more assertive U.S. policy of support for Iranian reformers, including possibly covert operations.
Rice did not address this, and U.S. policy toward Iran was not a primary focus of senators, who spent more time probing U.S. decision-making on Iraq.
Many experts have urged Bush to negotiate with Iran on the issues that divide the two long-time adversaries, including U.S. claims that Tehran supports Islamic militants, harbors al Qaeda operatives and undermines Mideast peace efforts.
"This is just a regime that has a really very different view of the Middle East and where the world is going than we do" including an "appalling" human rights record, Rice said.
Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island accused Rice of "accentuating and magnifying" U.S. disputes with Iran while seeking common cause with China, another country with whom Washington has many differences.
On Tuesday, Rice reiterated that if Iran does not abandon its nuclear programs, the issue should be sent to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
Washington insists Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons but Tehran says it only wants to produce nuclear energy.
The EU three -- Britain, France and Germany -- negotiated a deal under which Iran agreed to suspend nuclear activities in return for nuclear technology but the administration has been extremely doubtful this will solve the problem.
Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the committee's senior Democrat, pressed Rice on whether the administration might embrace the EU deal if Iran implemented a verifiable ban on nuclear and missile production.
If the nuclear issue is as critical as Bush suggested, the president should be ready to accept such a deal, he said.
Rice replied: "I think we would have to say that the relationship with Iran has more components than the nuclear side. But let's see how far the Europeans get and take a look at where we are."
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Condoleezza Rice to rein in rogues
January 20, 2005
AMERICA'S next Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday kept attention on Iran's nuclear ambitions and highlighted a fresh list of rogue states needing close US attention.
In her confirmation hearing, Dr Rice echoed President George Bush's "Axis of Evil" list with her own "Outposts of Tyranny".
"In our world there remain outposts of tyranny and America stands with oppressed people on every continent in Cuba, and Burma, and North Korea, and Iran, and Belarus, and Zimbabwe," Dr Rice told a Senate committee considering her nomination to succeed Colin Powell as Secretary of State.
In a tough day of questioning, she declined to hose down growing talk that the US is considering an attack on Iran.
A leading American journalist this week reported that US operatives are already in Iran, scouting potential military targets. The White House has not denied the main claims of the article.
Dr Rice said that Iran's nuclear and weapons programs had to be stopped, preferably through diplomacy.
"We must remain united in insisting that Iran and North Korea abandon their nuclear weapons," she said.
"At some point Iran has to be held accountable for its unwillingness to live up to its international obligations."
In her opening statement Dr Rice made it clear greater efforts should be made to put America's case to the world and listen to the response.
"The time for diplomacy is now," she said.
"Our interaction with the rest of the world must be a conversation, not a monologue."
Among those firing questions was former presidential candidate John Kerry.
Senator Kerry said the US Administration's current policy is "growing the insurgency, not diminishing it".
Dr Rice admitted mistakes had been made in Iraq, but things were not as bad as they seemed.
One senator suggested her loyalty to Mr Bush "overwhelmed your respect for the truth" by knowingly making misleading statements about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorism to sell the US invasion.
"Senator, I have to say that I have never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything," Dr Rice said.
"It is not my nature. It is not my character."
Dr Rice, 50, is almost assured of winning confirmation and will be sworn in as Secretary of State on Friday.
from the January 20, 2005 edition
Forced by 9/11 to leave his critical view of "nation-building" behind, President Bush could easily use his Inaugural Address Thursday to quote Woodrow Wilson, that consummate advocate for US leadership in building up other nations and expanding democracy.
Bush's Democracy Project
In the midst of World War I, just before sending US troops to help free Europe from German expansionism, the 28th president used his second inaugural to make this point about America's place in the world: "We are provincials no longer. The tragic events of the 30 months of vital turmoil through which we have just passed have made us citizens of the world." Then he added that all nations are "responsible" for maintaining world peace, including the "political stability of free peoples."
The idea of spreading freedom has waxed and waned in US history. Such an expensive undertaking requires dollars and lives that Americans may not want to give to help others. But President Bush has identified this goal as the main foreign-policy thrust of his second term. He now recognizes that democracy, because of the self-determination it provides, is the best guarantor for peace during a long campaign against Islamic terrorism.
US values that unite
His theme could be an ennobling unifier for Americans, who remain polarized in their politics. In her Senate confirmation hearings this week, Secretary-of-State designate Condoleezza Rice gave a reminder of how the nation can come together when it struggles for its basic values. She spoke of her experience growing up in Birmingham, Ala., during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
"The story of Birmingham's parents and teachers and children is a story of the triumph of universal values over adversity," she stated. These values, she added, "unite Americans of all backgrounds." And indeed, the sacrifice of a Martin Luther King and those of American soldiers liberating others from tyranny do have common cause.
Dr. Rice reminded her Senate questioners that