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.