Ian Kelly, State Department Spokesman, Daily Press Briefing, Washington, DC
TRANSCRIPT: June 30, 2009, 12:37 p.m. EDT
QUESTION: On Iran, now that the Guardian Council has announced its decision and announced Ahmadinejad as the final winner with even more votes than before, is that enough for the U.S. Government, or are you still going to wait and see what happens on the street and by the opposition?
MR. KELLY: …as the Secretary said yesterday, we’re very concerned about what’s happening in Iran…And I think this process still has to play out.
QUESTION: Well, what are you waiting – what are you waiting to play out? …
MR. KELLY: I’m not quite sure I understand what you mean by what are we waiting for.
QUESTION: Well, you say you’re waiting for it to play out. I mean, I’m just unclear what specifically you’re waiting for?….
QUESTION: What is it that hasn’t played out?
MR. KELLY: I think that there are – that the Iranian Government still has to take some action…
QUESTION: Well, I know, but –
MR. KELLY: In addition, we don’t see that they’ve addressed the concerns of the international community about their nuclear program. So we’re still waiting for some actions.
QUESTION: Well, but – I know. I mean, you could wait indefinitely for some actions, but just kind of –
MR. KELLY: Well, maybe we – I hope we don’t.
QUESTION: But – okay, but, I mean, at what point do you say there will be consequences if you don’t see some actions? …
MR. KELLY: Well, you know what the Secretary said yesterday. I mean, we’re going to – we are going to make decisions and base our actions on the national interests of the United States. We have…concerns …about Iran’s nuclear program, and we’re going to just continue to raise these concerns until we see that action is taken.
QUESTION: Well, …don’t you think that’s inconsistent with “we’re going to do what’s in the best interests of our national security interests regardless?”
MR. KELLY: I just – you’re asking us to take actions. I don’t think –
QUESTION: …I’m asking if you’re going to recognize President Ahmadinejad as the legitimate government that you will be – that you say you want to deal with in – on your other national security interests.
MR. KELLY: …[L]egitimacy of any government derives from the consent of the governed. I think that we’ve always had concerns about the political process in Iran…We will make decisions on that based on our dealings with Iran, based on our national interests. We think, right now, that this internal situation needs to play out.
QUESTION: Sorry, can I follow up? But it has played out. The Guardian Council has said –
MR. KELLY: I don’t think it’s played out.
QUESTION: — Ahmadinejad has – so what are you waiting for? You’re waiting for him to be sworn in?
MR. KELLY: Okay. I’ll say it again. We’re waiting for Iran to take some action.
QUESTION: What kind of action?
MR. KELLY: Well, they need to address the concerns of the international community.
QUESTION: But that’s separate from the election.
MR. KELLY: I know it’s separate from the election. We –
QUESTION: So at what point do you decide that you’re going to deal with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
MR. KELLY: Well, we haven’t reached that point yet. We will reach that point when – I mean, we’ve laid out exactly what we think needs to happen in the P-5+1. Javier Solana has invited Iran to participate. We have said that we will participate…
QUESTION: It’s a bit confusing. You are saying that you are going to recognize Ahmadinejad when they decide –
MR. KELLY: Did I say that?
QUESTION: — when they decide they will attend this P-5+1 meeting. I don’t see the relationship.
MR. KELLY: Look…the situation is still evolving in Iran…When and if the Iranians respond to the concerns of the international community and decide to abide by their responsibilities under their agreements –
QUESTION: Then –
MR. KELLY: — we will make our decisions based on our national interests.
It reads like an Onion parody, but no. This is actual national policy, as established by people who think they’re better able than we are to run our lives. We need their help, they insist, and yet they’ll let a tyrant like Ahmadinejad stomp his own people into bloody mud.