February 26th, 2007 05:40 EST
Rice Says, Iran's Nuclear Policies Leading to Greater Isolation
Washington -- By refusing to suspend its nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities, Iran is continuing to isolate itself from the international community, according to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Responding to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stated refusal to "reverse" his country's nuclear program, Rice said, "They don't need a reverse gear. They need a stop button. They need to stop enriching and reprocessing and then we can sit down and talk about whatever is on Iran's mind." (See related article.)
Speaking on Fox News Sunday February 25, Rice pointed out that Iran's nuclear activities already have isolated the nation from the international community through a 15-to-0 Security Council vote for a Chapter 7 resolution that imposes sanctions. (See related article.)
"People are looking hard at ... the investment risk of dealing with a country that is under Chapter 7 status in the international community," she said. "It's very rare to be under Chapter 7. There aren't that many countries that are in that UN category. And I think what we're looking to is that people who don't want to endure that kind of isolation will stop, take a deep breath, and give international negotiations a chance by suspending their program."
Rice added that if Iran suspends its enrichment and reprocessing activities, she would be prepared to meet an Iranian representative at any time. "That should be a clear signal," she said.
DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAQ
Turning to Iraq, Rice warned against efforts by Congress to move beyond general oversight of the U.S. foreign and defense policy in Iraq to attempts at calibrating military operations there.
"The president, as commander-in-chief, has to be able to rely on the best military advice," she said on ABC's This Week. "If you ever disrupt that chain, then you're going to have the worst micro-management of military affairs and it's always served us badly in the past."
Asked about the announced drawdown of British troops from the south of Iraq, Rice said that, despite some sectarian conflict, the plan always had been for coalition forces to transfer responsibility to the Iraqis as conditions permitted. (See related article.)
Rice indicated that on her recent trip to Baghdad, Iraq, she had urged the leadership to move more rapidly on political reconciliation, while conceding that the country is dealing with deeply contentious issues. (See related article.)
For example, she said on Fox News Sunday, "The oil law is not just an oil law. It's a law about dividing the resources of the country and therefore maintaining the unity of Iraq, so it's not easy."
RUSSIA AND NATO
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Rice called recent criticisms of U.S. foreign policy and NATO by Russian officials "unnecessary and unwarranted," but said she saw no prospect of a return to the Cold War. (See related article.)
The secretary denied that the expansion of NATO, which she called "one of the great stories of the post-Cold War time," should cause Russia any security concerns. As a result of NATO's expansion, Russia now has democratic countries on its border that are eager to trade, and open to discussions of their differences, according to Rice. The secretary also dismissed charges that plans for missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic would in any way threaten Russia's nuclear deterrent force. (See related article.)
Transcripts of Rice's interviews on Fox News Sunday and ABC's This Week can be found on the State Department Web site.
For more information on U.S. policies, see Iraq Update and Russia.
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By Howard Cincotta
USINFO Special Correspondent