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"We do have a problem with MEK" Secretary Rice


Q Thank you, Secretary Rice. Raymond Tanter in the Political
-- in the Government Department.

SEC. RICE: How are you, Ray? It's good to see you.

Q Good to see you. Thank you, Madame Secretary.

Madame Secretary, congratulations on holding the permanent five members of the Security Council together on Iran. That's the good news. The bad news is that it seems if Tehran is using negotiations as a means of continuing with enrichment or breaking the seals at Natanz, breaking the seals at Isfahan and violating the terms of its agreement with the European 3 concerning reprocessing -- there's wild speculation about military action as a result of the fact that diplomacy seems to be stymie. Meanwhile, you have a situation where the Iranian opposition, the Mujahideen-e Khalq, is on the foreign terrorist organizations' list of the department, Department of State. And I believe that these are the pro-democratic forces with which we
should be working in the West.

SEC. RICE: Thank you.

First, let me say I've known Professor Tanter for a long time.We go back to our early days as baby professors -- (laughter) -- which -- we won't say how long ago that was.

Okay, Iran is a very difficult problem. You're right; I think we have a good deal of coherence in the view of the major powers about the fact that Iran stepped over a line when it broke the seals and threatened to begin enrichment and reprocessing. Nobody wants Iran to have that capability.

The Iranians want to make this about their rights. This is not about their rights; it's about the ability of the international syste to trust them with capabilities and technologies that could lead to a nuclear weapon. And they have a history with the IAEA of not
disclosing, of covering their activities, and so no one does trust them with those -- those technologies.

Now in terms of the internal situation in Iran, we've always said that this is not just an issue for us of the nuclear program, although that is its most dangerous manifestation, but this is also a state sponsor of terror -- it's a state that is supportive of Hezbollah, which causes difficulties in Lebanon; of Palestinian rejectionists, which make it hard for Abu Mazen to seek the two-state solution with Israel that he seeks.

And of course, Iran, unlike so many countries in the region, has been going backwards in terms of its development at home. This is a place that is -- is -- where you have a population which is outward- looking, which wants to be a part of the international system, which
wants democracy and reform, and where the unelected mullahs have done nothing but take and power away from the marginally elected institutions that exist in Iran.

Now I won't even speak to the language of the current Iranian president. I mean, Ahmadinejad has given us all a focal point to say, if everyone thought that this -- if anyone ever thought that this was a state that was behaving in a normal fashion, his statements are so out of bounds I think that has taken that veneer away.

The question is, then, how do you make -- make it possible for there to be change in Iran?

And we are trying to work with -- through the -- Congress has made available some funding that we are trying to work, to the degree we can, with non-governmental organizations. We try to broadcast in Iran. Iranians go back and forth; this is not a population that is closed off to information.

But we do have a problem with MEK. It is a terrorist organization. It was engaged in killings which actually ended up on the death even of Americans. That situation has not changed.

But we do hope that by standing with the Iranian people, by making clear that the United States believes that the Iranian people deserve a better future and deserve an elected future, that the international community can begin to rally around that cause, because Iran is simply 180 degrees out of step with the rest of the trends in the Middle East.

file:///C:/Documents and Settings/Eier/Skrivebord/1295479.htm

Date:  2006-02-27

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