State Department Noon Briefing


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2000 - 1:30 P.M.

Q: The Deputy Oil Minister from Iran says he expects progress in
US-Iranian relations for a variety of reasons, mostly having to do
with business interests of American oil companies. Do you have
anything to say about that?

MR. REEKER: I did see some comments - both today, I think, and
yesterday - from others on that subject. I certainly can't try to
predict the future from where I stand, nor would I want to. What I can
tell you - and I don't think there is anything new in this for you --
is that we remain very concerned about a number of Iranian policies.
That includes Iran's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and
missile delivery systems; Iran's support for terrorism, including for
groups that oppose the Middle East peace process with violence; and
also Iran's human rights record.

So obviously, as we have said before, Iran must address these
concerns, and the US sanctions regime that is in place with respect to
Iran remains in place. So I really can't engage in any speculation
about what the future is going to bring. Secretary Albright, I think,
outlined our policy towards Iran clearly last March in her speech,
March 17th. I just don't think there is anything additional to add.

Q: Phil, you didn't mention the fact that she's reaching out to the
Iranians? That was a major part of her March 17th speech.

MR. REEKER: Precisely. And I would refer you back to that speech. We
have called for a dialogue with Iran with no preconditions in which we
could address - both sides address these concerns that we have. I
just outlined for you the major categories of our concerns regarding
Iran, and we have called for that dialogue and we continue to call for

Q: But the mantra has changed somewhat, though. You said weapons of
mass destruction, support for terrorism. And usually you say efforts
to undermine the Middle East peace process, and you didn't include
that one.

MR. REEKER: Well, I think - not to change any mantras - to the
support for terrorism, including for groups opposing the Middle East
peace process with violence. That has always been our position.

Q: So you linked the two together?

MR. REEKER: I'm not trying to indicate anything. I think we have
basically four things there: weapons of mass destruction, terrorism,
not supporting Middle East peace, and human rights.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:35 P.M.)