Ambassador Rice: Good afternoon. President Obama has said, “Rules must be binding, violations must be punished, words must mean something.” Well today, the words in the just-passed resolution 1929 indeed mean something. Violations are being punished and the measures in this resolution are binding. This is not a modest, incremental resolution. With the passage today of 1929, the Iran sanctions regime now becomes the strongest, most comprehensive sanctions regime in the world today. It imposes binding new bans on Iranian investment abroad in nuclear facilities and activities. It bans whole new categories of weapons to be imported into Iran. It bans Iran’s ability to engage in any activities related to ballistic missiles that could be capable of launching nuclear weapons. It imposes asset freezes on 40 new entities—more than triple the number of any previous resolution and one individual. It imposes sweeping new restrictions on financial activities, banking activities, including correspondent banking, including insurance and reinsurance that could contribute to Iran’s nuclear or proliferation activities. It imposes a comprehensive cargo inspection regime to prevent Iran from continuing to smuggle contraband cargo. This resolution is strong, it’s tough and it’s comprehensive. And it is something that Iran fought very hard to prevent passage today. The effort, the time, the money, and the poise that they employed, to try to prevent this resolution’s passage only underscores their understanding, that this is a major blow. With that, I am happy to take your questions.
Reporter: Is the engagement over?
Ambassador Rice: No, the engagement is not over. As you heard, in the ministerial statement, read by Ambassador Lyall Grant on behalf of the Ministers of the P5+1, this is a dual track policy. Engagement and diplomacy remain very much on the table. The purpose of this resolution was not to punish the people of Iran. It was in fact to change the calculation of the leadership in Iran, constrain their ability to pursue their nuclear and proliferation activities and persuade them of the wisdom of coming to the negotiating table in earnest, to talk about their nuclear program, rather than continue on the course that their on.
Reporter: Ambassador Rice, there have been United Nations sanctions against Iran since 2006, and they have continued to make developments in their nuclear program, and it doesn’t seem like its hurt their economy that much, so what makes think a) this time is going to be different, and b) now that you have the United Nations sanctions in hand what is the United States going to do on its own in terms of sanctions towards Iran?
Ambassador Rice: Well first of all we disagree with your assessment that it has had no impact on Iran’s economy, quite the contrary, these series of sanctions, and indeed, the resolution passed today, have impacted Iran’s economy, have impacted Iran’s ability to conduct business that could contribute to its nuclear proliferation activities that is what this regime is about, and that is what the resolution today will do. The Iranian government understands that more and more measures, as those imposed today, to restrict their ability to pursue their nuclear and proliferation activities are harmful and hurtful, which is why they have worked so hard to prevent their passage today.
Reporter: Ambassador what is your feeling to the fact that..
Ambassador Rice: I can’t hear. Come one.
Reporter: What’s your reaction to the fact that this is the first time that you only have 12 votes in favor? And also, how do you respond to the Iranian saying that this Council has double standards that Israel did not join NPT, didn’t open its installations, and this makes a feeling of double standard in the entire Arab world.
Ambassador Rice: We heard a lot of ridiculous rhetoric from our Iranian colleague here today designed to obscure and deflect the reality that Iran is in violation of its IAEA obligations and prior Security Council Resolutions. As Ambassador Lyall Grant said in the Chamber, we found many of the comments reprehensible, offensive, and inaccurate. And I won’t elaborate on that further. Coming to your first question, the passage today of Resolution 1929 occurred with a very strong majority of the Security Council. We are very pleased by the outcome and pleased by the strong support that was demonstrated by Council members. The fact that Turkey and Brazil chose to vote no, I think as you heard in their statements, was a reflection largely of a difference of timing and tactics, both countries affirmed their view that Iran should not have a nuclear weapons capability, we share that goal. They differed with the other members of the Security Council about the timing and appropriateness of sanctions at this stage. They also, as you know have launched their own initiative with Tehran, other members of the Council welcome the intentions behind that and the diplomacy, and the efforts that entail, but none of them, none of them beside Turkey and Brazil, viewed the declaration issued in Tehran as a substitute for Tehran upholding its obligations under prior Security Council Resolutions and meeting its IAEA obligations, and therefore the strong majority of the Council felt it necessary to go ahead with the sanctions as adopted today.
Reporter: But are you disappointed with Brazil and Turkey, and also following his question about the double standards, it is not only Iran that talks about double standards with Israel, many other countries do that. So, about the double standard and also your disappointment with Brazil and Turkey.
Ambassador: I reject the concept of double standards and with respect to Brazil and Turkey their decisions are their sovereign right, I think that the vast majority of the Council, and indeed the international community, understood the importance of making the dual track approach real and operative, that Iran continued, and indeed increased, violations of Security Council Resolutions and its IAEA obligations necessitated increased pressure and increased isolation, not to the exclusion of diplomacy, but in fact, to reinforce diplomacy. Thank you very much.
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