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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 18, 2004
Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Little Rock, Arkansas
10:25 A.M. EST
MR. McCLELLAN: Good morning. The President began the day with a -- by hosting a breakfast for the newly-elected senators. They had a good discussion. The President talked about the importance of working together where we can find agreement, and the President talked about his second term agenda and the priorities that we are working to pursue, from Social Security -- from strengthening Social Security to tax reform, as well exercising spending restraint as we move forward on budgets in the second term.
Q Just Republicans?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, this was the -- all the newly-elected senators. Remember, he had the luncheon with the newly-elected House members on Tuesday at the White House, and this was following on that meeting.
Let's see, then he had his usual briefings. He taped his radio address, which talks about the APEC summit and the visit to Colombia. And then we've got -- when we get there the President will first participate in a coffee reception -- I think that's a short reception. Then he will make remarks at the dedication of the library. The President looks forward to paying tribute to President Clinton and his presidency. Then there is a tour of the library following that, that the President will participate in, and a post-dedication luncheon, where the President will be one of the people making a toast to President Clinton. And then he gets to Crawford this evening. And that's all I've got.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think Secretary Powell was talking about intelligence that we have seen; that's what he was referring to. I think our views are very clear about Iran. Iran needs to follow through on the recent agreement they came to with our European friends. They need to fully comply with the IAEA and their inspections. They need to suspend their enrichment related and reprocessing activities. And they need to ratify and adhere to the additional protocol, as well. That's our view.
Q Scott, there's nothing in --
MR. McCLELLAN: Obviously, the International Atomic Energy Agency looks at all the issues related to Iran and its nuclear programs. And we expect Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA. They've spent quite a bit of time over the years hiding their program and their intentions.
Q What implications would it have for the Middle East for Iran to have nuclear tipped missiles?
MR. McCLELLAN: What implications would it have in the Middle East?
Q For the Middle East --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the international community is united in its resolve to make sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. And that's why we are working for a peaceful, diplomatic solution to this matter. And, ultimately, our view is that Iran needs to stop all its enrichment related and reprocessing activities; there's no need for it. And that's the way to show -- give everybody confidence that they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon
Q Scott, there's nothing in the agreement with the Europeans that concerns missiles in any way. There's nothing in the IAEA's charter that permits them to even investigate missile activities. So is the United States making any particular demands on Iran, or any suggestions to the Europeans about how missile development should be included in these --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, Iran has made commitments to the international community, and they need to follow through on those commitments.
Q They have nothing to do with missiles --
MR. McCLELLAN: What we're talking about is activities that could be related to a nuclear weapon program, and the International Atomic Energy Agency looks at those issues. If you're talking about developing warheads that could be put on delivery systems, like missiles and --
Q But that's not what the Secretary said, right? He said --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, I mean, I can't get into discussing any of the intelligence that he's referring to, beyond what he said. But we are continuing to work through the international community, work with the international community to make sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.
Q -- report about the dissident group in Europe that said there is a secret installation where the Iranians are actually enriching right now. Have you seen that; can you confirm that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Seen the reports?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. We're aware of those reports. I mean, that's been -- the report in the press over the last couple of days. And certainly, as you're aware, that is an organization that we include on our terrorist list. And so it's not an organization that we have any contacts with, but --
Q Do you have any --
MR. McCLELLAN: All the reports of that nature are things that the International Atomic Energy Agency should look at as part of their investigation into Iran's nuclear program. But, you know, no, we're not in a position to get into verifying the validity of that report.
MR. McCLELLAN: Not that I'm aware of -- unless it's happened since we've been on the plane. (Laughter.) There is progress that is continuing to be made in Congress to get it done this week. Speaker Hastert indicated that he would like to get it done this week. We're continuing to work very closely with congressional leaders to make it happen as quickly as possible. It's a high priority for this President and he is someone who is strongly committed to building upon the reforms we've already put in place. And we'll continue working closely with Congress to get it done.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's way too premature to start getting into talk about his presidential library. If the election had turned out the other way, maybe it wouldn't be -- (laughter) -- but it's a little early to start talking about his presidential library, or speculating about where it may be.
Q He's got to raise money for it-- I mean, that takes time.
MR. McCLELLAN: There will be plenty of time to discuss this at a later time.
Q Is there any -- has he never said anything about it?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's not something he has to spend a lot of time focusing on right now. Like I said, if the election had turned out a different way, maybe it would be.
MR. McCLELLAN: Not that I'm aware of. I'll double-check it, but I don't believe so. I'll have to double-check.
Q What's the question?
MR. McCLELLAN: Have they talked since the reelection. I'll double-check that, though.*
Q Does he ever talk to him or --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, certainly when he was in the hospital, the President called him and wished him a speedy recovery. So they have talked from time to time.
Q Scott, there was a report last night about -- I think it was $20 million, I'm not sure of the amount -- going to the Palestinians, being released. What does the administration hope that money -- what do they want to get with that money?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, there hasn't been any announcement made on any additional financial assistance. And I'm not here to announce anything at this point. We made it very clear that we want to work closely with Palestinian officials and assist them as they move forward on elections and building the institutions necessary for a viable state to emerge, and that's what we're committed to doing.
Q There's no announcement on any money being transferred to them?
MR. McCLELLAN: No announcement at this point. But we are committed to assisting them as they move forward on building the democratic institutions necessary for a viable state to emerge.
MR. McCLELLAN: See, you asked this yesterday and I said I'm not going to do this every day. (Laughter.)
Q Well, if you do it today, then you don't have to do it for the next 10 days. (Laughter.) We promise. There is an embargo on future questions if you just say "no." (Laughter.)
Q Is it safe to say the pace is going to slow down? How should we view it?
MR. McCLELLAN: We will keep you posted. There is nothing else I'm aware of for today.
Q You guys heard him, we can ask him every day. (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: And I again will tell you we will keep you posted at the appropriate time.
Q Has a Russian bilat been put on yet?
MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, I believe -- let me double-check that, but I believe we were working to add that and I think that has been added. Let me double-check that, though.
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. I saw it on the latest schedule that I had, so I think it has been scheduled. And I'll double-check the day, but I think that's correct.
MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, down in Chile? It's not on the schedule that I've seen. All right? Thank you.
END 10:35 A.M. EST