17 March 2004
White House Notes Serious Concern with Iran's Activities
White House Report, March 17: Iran, Iraq, Ireland
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters the United States has a number of serious concerns with Iran.
"Our policy toward Iran is quite clear. We continue to insist that Iran abide by all its international atomic energy agreements and Non-Proliferation Treaty commitments," McClellan said at a briefing March 17.
The press secretary cited the following issues of concern to the United States: "Iran must end the abuse of its citizens' human rights, end support of terrorism, halt meddling in its neighbors' internal affairs, and turn over the al-Qaeda terrorists it is now harboring to their home governments."
He said there should be "established channels of communications when we have issues of mutual concern to address."
The United States "supports the Iranian people's aspirations to live in freedom, enjoy their God-given rights, and determine their own destiny," he said.
U.S. GRIEVES LOSS OF LIFE IN BAGHDAD TERRORIST ATTACK
"We do not have details on who is responsible for this latest attack in Baghdad, but all indications are that this is a terrible terrorist attack on innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and with the families," McClellan told reporters.
Nevertheless, he said, coalition forces have made important progress in Iraq, and the United States "will continue to stay and finish the job for the Iraqi people.
"We will meet this test with strength," he said. "Democracy is taking root in Iraq, and there is no turning back. A free and peaceful Iraq will be a major blow to the terrorists in the global war on terrorism."
According to news reports, a bomb destroyed a hotel in downtown Baghdad March 17. There were reportedly at least 27 people killed and more than 40 wounded from the attack.
BUSH WELCOMES IRISH PRIME MINISTER TO WHITE HOUSE
President Bush and the first lady met with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern at the White House and participated in a "Shamrock" ceremony in the Roosevelt Room to celebrate St. Patrick's Day March 17.
Following the ceremony, President Bush and Prime Minister Ahern attended a St. Patrick's Day luncheon at the U.S. Capitol hosted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert (Republican of Illinois).
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)