U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton talked to reporters after a meeting with Qatar Prime Minister Al-Thani in Washington, DC on Monday. In response to a questions about Iran, Clinton stated that "our approach, as you know, has always proceeded on two tracks; we have an engagement track and a pressure track. And as I've said, the results of our efforts to engage Iran directly have not been encouraging."
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, on Iran, President Obama said last year that you'd have a pretty good sense by the end of year whether Iran was seriously interested in pursuing dialogue about its nuclear program. There aren't a lot of signs that they are, and there are no signs that I'm aware of that they're interested in carrying out the agreement on low-enriched uranium that was reached in Geneva.
One, from your point of view, is the LEU deal dead? Two, even if the door to talking about the LEU deal is still open, is the Administration now closer to imposing targeted sanctions, particularly on companies or individuals that have ties to the Revolutionary Guard Corps?
And lastly, do you not perceive a danger that additional sanctions could play into the hands of the hardliners, who often make the argument that they are engaged in a struggle with foreign forces and try to rally people around them that way? And they've made that argument even as they've been crushing the protests recently.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Arshad, we remain committed to working with our international partners on addressing the serious concerns we have regarding Iran's nuclear program. Now, our approach, as you know, has always proceeded on two tracks; we have an engagement track and a pressure track. And as I've said, the results of our efforts to engage Iran directly have not been encouraging. We're disappointed by their response to the proposal for the Tehran research reactor. And the Iranian Government announced a deadline to receive a positive response to their unacceptable counter-offer. So yes, we have concerns about their behavior, we have concerns about their intentions, and we are deeply disturbed by the mounting signs of ruthless repression that they are exercising against those who assemble and express viewpoints that are at variance with what the leadership of Iran wants to hear.
Now, we've avoided using the term "deadline" ourselves. That's not a term that we have used because we want to keep the door to dialogue open. But we've also made it clear we can't continue to wait and we cannot continue to stand by when the Iranians themselves talk about increasing their production of high-enriched uranium and additional facilities for nuclear power that very likely can be put to dual use.
So we have already begun discussions with our partners and with likeminded nations about pressure and sanctions. I can't appropriately comment on the details of those discussions now, except to say that our goal is to pressure the Iranian Government, particularly the Revolutionary Guard elements, without contributing to the suffering of the ordinary Iraqis [Iranians] who deserve better than what they currently are receiving.
Iran is going through a very turbulent period in its history. There are many troubling signs of the actions that they are taking. And we want to reiterate that we stand with those Iranians who are peacefully demonstrating. We mourn the loss of innocent life. We condemn the detention and imprisonment, the torture and abuse of people, which seems to be accelerating. And we hope that there will be an opportunity for Iran to reverse course, to begin engaging in a positive way with the international community, respecting the rights of their own citizens. But we're going to continue on our dual-track approach.
... Payvand News - 01/05/10 ... --