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."
Just heard you on Hugh Hewitt.
Two thumbs up!
It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
As I listened to it, I must say that I was stunned. Bush spent roughly 2/3 of the speech - which is usually almost totally domestic in nature - on foreign policy. He got started right away. The whole thing was about freedom. I expected maybe five minutes of foreign policy. No - more like 12+ minutes! WOW!
And what actually said. What a great speech! He basically said it is the policy of the American government to support freedom and democracy in every country on every continent.
That includes Iran!
I can't help but thinking that the Iranian people as a whole are smiling after Bush's speech today. He didn't mention Iran by name (not even Iraq, which surprised me), but I think they know. And so do the mullahs. This is the tough talk I've been waiting for. This is a revision of the "Bush Doctrine." We're against you even if you don't support terrorism. Treat your people right if you want friendly relations with the United States. He wasn't joking when he said that his foreign policy for his second term would mirror The Case for Democracy.
The thing that really capped it off was when he linked our relations with nations, and how they treat their people. I could barely believe I heard him said that.
If the dominance of foreign policy in Bush's 2nd Inaugural address is reflective of the emphasis throughout the next four years, then it is going to be spreading freedom throughout the world, and in our spare time, we'll work on the [huge] domestic agenda. I think it was on September 13, 2001, that Bush said that he was going to become a foreign policy president. He would still do domestic things, but foreign policy would be his focus. Nearly 3 1/2 years later, that is as true as ever.
Bush isn't president just to be president. He wants to get things done. America, and, indeed the world, will look very different on January 20, 2009, than it did on January 20, 2001.
What Bush needs to do next is say much the same thing during the State of the Union address (whenever that will be), but harshly single out Iran. Most encouraging is the talk of getting sanctions imposed on Iran by the UNSC. Not that it is ever going to happen, China and Europe would never go along with it, but it is the next step.
If I ever heard the footsteps of the marching of freedom - it is today.
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