16 February 2005
White House Report, February 16: Iran, Syria
Iran, Syria "misreading" U.S. concerns, McClellan says
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said reports that Syria and Iran are forming a â€śunited frontâ€ť against the United States reflect â€śa fundamental misreadingâ€ť of the concerns about them.
Speaking to the press February 16, McClellan said, â€śTheir problem is not with the United States, it's with the international community.Â Both Syria and Iran have international obligations and they need to abide by the commitments they have made to the international community.â€ť
According to press reports, representatives of the two countries pledged to form aÂ "united front" against foreign threats.Â McClellan said he was â€śnot sure exactlyâ€ť what the two countries were referring to, but he said the Bush administrationâ€™s views â€śare very clear on Syria and Iran.â€ť
The press secretary praised the February 15 statement from U.N. Security Council President Joel W. Adechi of Benin on the February 14 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri as â€śa strong statement â€¦ that received unanimous support.â€ť
The U.N. statement discussed the importance of fully investigating the murder and bringing those responsible to justice, McClellan said, as well as â€śthe importance of countries abiding by Security Council resolutions,â€ť implying Resolution 1559, which calls upon Syria to leave Lebanon.
â€śIt was a horrible attack and we want to see it fully investigated; we want to see those who are responsible brought to justice,â€ť he said.
Asked about the February 16 explosion near the Iranian city of Dailam, McClellan confirmed that there were no U.S. aircraft or assets involved.Â Press reports later indicated that the blast was due to construction work at a nearby dam.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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