2/18/2005 01:46:00 AM | Author: baloghblog

Q: Thank you, Mr. President. If, as you say, the development of nuclear weapons is unacceptable, and if the administration's concern for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which proved out to be unfounded, drove an invasion to seek regime change, how concerned should Americans and, for that matter, the world be that the true identification of weapons in Iran or North Korea might not lead to the same sort of attack?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first, Iran is different from Iraq -- very different. The international community was convinced that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction -- not just the United States, but the international community -- and had passed some 16 resolutions. In other words, diplomacy had -- they tried diplomacy over and over and over and over again. John was at the United Nations during this period. And finally, the world, in 1441 -- U.N. Resolution 1441 -- said, disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences. This was not a declaration by the United States of America, it was a declaration by the United Nations Security Council -- and a 15-to-nothing vote, as I recall. And we took that resolution very seriously.

As you know, the Iranian issue hasn't even gone up to the Security Council yet. And so there's more diplomacy, in my judgment, to be done. And we'll work very closely with our European friends and other nations. As I mentioned before, we're an active member of the IAEA board, which will give us an opportunity to continue -- to continue to say to the Iranians, you've got to be transparent with your program and adhere to -- adhere to protocols that you have signed.

Remember, this all started when they -- we found them enriching uranium in an undeclared fashion. And it happened because somebody told on them. There was an Iranian group that brought forth the information and it was clear that they were enriching. And yet, they hadn't told anybody, which leads you to wonder, why they hadn't told anybody. And so you can understand our suspicions.

And we'll work with nations. And in terms of Korea, North Korea, again, it's not Iraq. It's a different situation. But I'm -- I remember being with Jiang Zemin in Crawford, and as a result of that meeting, we issued a joint declaration that said that the Korean Peninsula should be nuclear weapons-free. Since then I've -- that policy has been confirmed by President Hu Jintao. And the other day the leader of North Korea declared they had a nuclear weapon, which, obviously, means that if he is -- if he's correct, that the peninsula is not nuclear weapons-free. So now is the time for us to work with friends and allies who have agreed to be a part of the process to determine what we're jointly going to do about it. And that's where we are in the process right now.

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On 2:34 PM , Anonymous said...

I am still in shock that he was re-elected.