Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff, Acting U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, "Briefing on the Security Council's Statement on Iran," Remarks to the media following a Security Council Stakeout, New York City, February 15, 2007


USUN PRESS RELEASE #025 (07)

Ambassador Wolff: Go ahead, yeah.

Reporter: Okay. Ambassador, the U.S. expressed, I'm told -- had some concerns
over the initial proposal on Iran. Can you outline sort of what your feeling
was and how a compromise was reached so that the council will have a press
statement?

Ambassador Wolff: Yes. There was a proposal to issue a press statement
condemning the terrorist bombings that took place in Iran that led us to a
discussion on when and under what circumstances does the council issue such
statements, because as you know, there are numerous terrorist incidents that
occur. And we asked that one of the things we wanted to clarify and have the
council consider is formal guidelines for when the council does address these
issues.

Secondly, the other issue we discussed -- I made the point it was a rich irony that the country -- the government that rejects Security Council authority and
rejects implementation of Security Council obligations conveyed through
resolutions adopted unanimously, is now coming to the council and asking for a
council statement. So we rejoice in the fact that the government recognizes
that the council is the supreme body to deal with issues of international peace
and security, it recognizes the council's legitimacy. And now we call on the
government of Iran to implement its obligations under existing Security Council resolutions and respect them the way it sought our respect for recognition of
this terrorist act.

Reporter: I note that the draft statement extends its sympathies to the Iranian
"people."

Ambassador Wolff: Correct.

Reporter: Was that a key element that allowed the U.S. to concur with -- or go
along with this?

Ambassador Wolff: It's a very important point because the Iranian government
has said they don't recognize the legitimacy of the Security Council. And it's
the Iranian people who merit all our condolences for terrorism acts and any
suffering they incur.

Reporter: On the issue of Lebanon, there was a long discussion about extending the mandate. Can you tell us why such a -- something that should be automatic took so long in the council? And what is the importance of sending this letter?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, there's a complicated series of issues that were
discussed by the council in relation to Prime Minister Siniora's request that
we -- that the Investigative Commission, headed by Commissioner Brammertz,
provide assistance to the Lebanese investigation of these two horrific
terrorist attacks that took place two days ago. The mandate of the
Investigative Commission allows for this, and in response to an urgent request
by the government of Lebanon through the prime minister's letter, we felt it
was important that we respond and support that request and allow the expertise
that Mr. Brammertz and his team have on the ground, allow that expertise to
support the investigation the Lebanese government is undertaking, and to do so
rapidly.

>From our perspective, it is absolutely no coincidence that these two
>terrorist
bombings came on the eve of the second anniversary of the Hariri assassination.
And we as a council are standing up for Lebanon's sovereignty and its ability
to govern itself without interference or intimidation. And this is a clear
message to all of those who would threaten the integrity of Lebanon and its
sovereignty, that this council is watching closely, and we will get to the
bottom of the perpetrators of these horrific acts.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, the second, though -- it has been two months since
the Security Council passed the resolution on Iran. Can you update us, sir,
what are your preparations for this review by the council of the Iran
resolution and the International Atomic Energy Agency?

Ambassador Wolff: I have nothing really to update you on from where we discuss
-- the last time I raise -- you raised the issue. These issues are being
discussed in capitals, and we have not yet brought it to the council.

Reporter: So there are no plans for another resolution, like a statement --

Ambassador Wolff: No. The resolution in place, 1737, is very clear on what
happens if there is non-compliance.

Reporter: Ambassador, how would you respond to concerns that are -- getting
back to the Lebanon issue, about some who say that, you know, there has to be a
limit to piling things on the commission? More bombings and more bombings --
where do you stop? Might that take the focus away from what the original intent
was?

Ambassador Wolff: Well, the original intent was to help the Lebanese government get to the bottom of who killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. And since then, the Council has added to that mandate the numerous terrorist attacks and assassinations, including Mr. Gemayel, that have been part of what is -- could
be and in our mind is a coordinated series of attempts to undermine the
legitimacy, the sovereignty, and the independence of the government. The fact
that this latest series of bombings took place on the eve of the second
anniversary of the Hariri assassination, the very mandate we gave this
commission to investigate, makes it clear to us that there are potential links there that need to be explored and fit in completely with the original mandate
of this commission.

Reporter: Thank you.

Ambassador Wolff: Thank you.


Released on February 15, 2007

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