Monday, February 07, 2005
Attack on Iran 'Not on Agenda,' Rice Says
Driving the whole blamed USA to the edge of national bankrupcy...?!?
Granted, they were teetering on it already as he "took" office (literally too - he took it away from TWO other guys now...!!!).
The intellectual linguist that I am always plays on words... and names... and the appointment of Condoleeza Rice makes me want to tell to all Americans only one thing... my (you see it coming) CONDOLENCES!!! *lol*
Feb 4, 9:12 AM (ET)
By ANNE GEARAN
LONDON (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday a U.S. attack on Iran "is simply not on the agenda at this point," despite the United States' continued criticism of Iran's human rights record and suspected nuclear weapons ambitions.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has expressly said that regime change in Iran is not the U.S. goal. But Rice would not say whether the United States supports a change of government.
Speaking to reporters on the plane as she began her weeklong trip, Rice said Iran's approach to human rights and its treatment of its own citizens were loathsome.
"I don't think anybody thinks that the unelected mullahs who run that regime are a good thing for the Iranian people and for the region," she said Thursday. On Friday, she referred to Iran's leaders as "an unelected few."
In London, first stop on a tour of European capitals, Rice said there is broad international agreement that Iran cannot be allowed to use a civilian nuclear power project to conceal a weapons program.
After a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Rice was asked directly whether the United States might attack Iran. Doing so could presumably head off the threat that Iran could use a nuclear device against Israel or other nations.
"The question is simply not on the agenda at this point," Rice said at a news conference.
Rice said, "We believe particularly in regard to the nuclear issue that while no one ever asks the American president to take all his options, any of his options off the table, that there are plenty of diplomatic means at our disposal to get the Iranians to finally live up to their international obligations."
She called the Iranian human-rights record "abysmal." Earlier, Rice said the Iranian regime's behavior in that area and others "is something to be loathed."
Asked during the plane trip here whether the United States should get more directly involved in the talks the Europeans are having with Iran, she said, "The Iranians know what they need to do. It's not the absence of anybody's involvement that is keeping the Iranians from knowing what they need to do."
Earlier, Rice met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the United States' closest ally in Iraq, holding her first meeting with a foreign leader since taking over from Colin Powell as the top American diplomat.
Their 90-minute breakfast meeting at Blair's Downing Street office covered Iraq, the Middle East and other subjects.
Rice thanked Blair for Britain's support in Iraq "as we work to support the Iraqi people in their quest and most especially ... as we try to bring to the Israelis and the Palestinians a chance for a lasting peace."
London is the site of a one-day conference in March to help the Palestinian government build democratic institutions.
En route to London on Thursday, Rice indicated the United States may take a back seat for now in the international effort to bring Israel and the Palestinians closer to a lasting peace.
Rice said she does not plan to attend next week's Middle East summit meeting in Egypt, although she will be close by for talks in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
"Not every effort has to be an American effort," Rice said. "It is extremely important that the parties themselves are taking responsibility. It is extremely important that the regional actors are taking responsibility."
She said the United States welcomes Egypt's help in hosting the summit and called it one of several hopeful signs for peace.
Middle East peace is one of the main topics for Rice's discussions with European leaders over the coming week, as is Iran. She will visit eight European capitals and the Vatican, with a weekend side trip to see the Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
In stops in Berlin later Friday and Paris next week, she may run into opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Iran's nuclear ambitions also is expected to be a topic of discussion with Europeans who are trying to head off nuclear weapons development.
It is not clear how much international support there is for any potential action against Iran. The Europeans have offered Iran technological and financial support, and have hinted at a trade deal if weapons development stops. The Bush administration has been cool to the European diplomacy, preferring economic sanctions against Iran.
In his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, President Bush called Iran "the world's primary state sponsor of terror."
At her Senate confirmation hearings last month, Rice said the United States wants "a regime in Iran that is responsive to concerns that we have about Iran's policies, which are 180 degrees" antithetical to America's interests.
Iran's supreme leader on Thursday said Bush's policies toward Iran would fail.
"America is like one of the big heads of a seven-headed dragon," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in Iran's capital. "The brains directing it are Zionist and non-Zionist capitalists who brought Bush to power to meet their own interests."
"(AP) President Bush, left, watches the swearing-in ceremony, Friday, Jan. 28, 2005, for incoming Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice..."
His usual (but, here, somehow more than usual) dumb-founded expression... and her usual stern allure... makes this blogger expect that all the foreboding that Clinton & Albright brought about will be fully-realized by THIS particular replacement duo here... now!!!