30 September 2003
Boucher Calls on Iran to Comply With IAEA
The U.S. is concerned about Iran's banning a reformist newspaper
Washington -- State Department spokesman Richard Boucher called on Iran to comply with IAEA resolutions by accepting the obligations many other countries have accepted, signing the additional protocol, and answering IAEA questions by the October 31 deadline.
At a September 29 press briefing Boucher also said the U.S. views with concern the Iranian judiciary's decision to ban a reformist publication simply for failure to accord prominent placement to a judiciary statement.
He went on to note that the U.S. has always said that Iranians have a right to determine their own destiny and that the U.S. supports their aspirations to live in freedom. The U.S. hopes the voice of the Iranian people and their call for democracy and the rule of law will be heard and will help transform Iran into a force for stability in the region.
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any particular statements or announcements, so I'd be glad to take your questions.
QUESTION: Do you have anything interesting to say in response to the various comments of the Iranian Foreign Minister yesterday about their intentions vis-à-vis their nuclear programs?
MR. BOUCHER: I think the most interesting things to say will be to say when Iran accepts the obligations that many other countries have accepted, when Iran signs the additional protocol, answers the questions of the IAEA. And we think they should do that, obviously, in accordance with the timetable of the most recent IAEA resolution, which is to do that October 31st.
Failure to comply would obviously have to lead to referral to the United Nations. It's at this point, however, that Iran has been given an opportunity to satisfy the concerns of the international community to disclose information about its program and to enter into the kind of arrangements with the International Atomic Energy Agency that many other countries have entered into.
I think that kind of got -- see if there's anything more we need to say. No, that's about it. Okay, other questions?
QUESTION: When you talk about referral to the UN, does that imply that you would look for some kind of -- the imposition of some sort of sanctions?
MR. BOUCHER: It implies that we would refer the question to the UN Security Council for whatever action the UN Security Council then felt it was appropriate. Let's take this step-by-step. If the International Atomic Energy Agency Director either reports noncompliance or can't confirm that they have not diverted nuclear material for non-peaceful purposes, then that would constitute evidence of noncompliance and so the Board, the IAEA Board, would be obligated to report noncompliance to the Security Council. At that point, what the Security Council does about it would be a question for the Security Council.
QUESTION: What would you like to see?
MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I don't want to get ahead of ourselves. One step at a time. It's time for Iran to comply with the questions it's been asked, to answer the questions it's been asked, and to comply with the obligations that, as I said, many other countries have accepted.
QUESTION: Do you think, Richard, the Council will be more responsive to such a referral than it has been to the referral to North Korea?
MR. BOUCHER: You guys are going two months down the road. I'm trying to take the next sort of six weeks in mind and say it's time for Iran to comply. Let's see if it goes to the Council, let's see when it goes and what we do there. But I don't want to start leaping off into space right now. Let's keep the emphasis where it belongs, particularly with the IAEA in contact with the Iranians, and that is on Iranian compliance with the demands, with the requirements of the IAEA Board of Governor resolution.
QUESTION: Jumping into space -- do you have any comment on China's --
QUESTION: Oh, wait, wait.
QUESTION: Are you still on Iran?
QUESTION: Yeah, but it's a different subject, a different Iran subject.
QUESTION: Do you have anything about the closure of a reformist newspaper in Iran?
MR. BOUCHER: In Iran?
QUESTION: Or the suspension of one?
MR. BOUCHER: Our information is that the Iranian judiciary has closed a leading reformist daily for publishing -- from publishing for ten days. Obviously, the United States supports the principles of free speech and free press. We regard them as standards for all nations that aspire to democracy and international acceptance.
We view with concern the Iranian judiciary banning a reformist publication simply for not placing prominently a judiciary statement.
We have always said that Iranians have a right to determine their own destiny; that we support their aspirations to live in freedom. We hope the voice of the Iranian people and their call for democracy and the rule of law will be heard and help transform Iran into a force for stability in the region.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)