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Middle East Digest - May 29, 2009


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Washington, DC
May 29, 2009

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The Middle East Digest provides text and audio from the Daily Press Briefing. For the full briefings, please visit daily press briefings.

From the Daily Press Briefing of May 29, 2009

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QUESTION: On the questions – sorry. The Secretary’s special advisor on Iran says that progress in the Middle East peace process isn’t linked to bringing peace to the wider region as a whole. Dennis Ross in his upcoming book makes that point. How does that fit with the President’s conceptive linkage with – that dialogue with Iran will help bring progress in the Middle East peace process and to the region as a whole?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, I’m – I haven’t seen these remarks. I do know that Ambassador Ross has a book coming out that he’s co-authored with a colleague. I mean, our position vis-à-vis Iran is clear. And of course, our position towards regional peace in the Middle East is clear that we do want to have a global regional solution to the problems in the Middle East. But having – I seriously have not seen these remarks by Ambassador Ross, so I really can’t comment on them.

QUESTION: But if the Secretary’s advisor is saying that that’s not going to help, does that mean – I mean, who’s speaking for U.S. policy on that issue? Is it the Secretary’s special advisor on Iran, or is it the –

MR. KELLY: Again, I haven’t seen the remarks, so I’m just going to decline to comment.

QUESTION: It was before he came into government.

MR. KELLY: Yes, it was. Yeah.

QUESTION: I think maybe we can stick with the idea that the President’s speaks for his Iran policy.

MR. KELLY: I’m sorry. Say that again?

QUESTION: No, that’s okay. (Inaudible.)

MR. KELLY: Okay, Arshad. Thank you very much, Arshad. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Another Iran question. This explosion in Zahedan, there is a cleric who is blaming it on involvement of the U.S. and Israel. Do you have any response to that?

MR. KELLY: I do.

QUESTION: I see you do. Right.

MR. KELLY: We condemn this terrorist attack in the strongest possible terms, and extend our sympathy to the families of those injured and killed. We note with concern a recent trend of bombings of Shia mosques in Iraq and Pakistan, as well as in Iran, and strongly condemn any kind of sectarian-driven violence.

The U.S. strongly condemns all forms of terrorism. We do not sponsor any form of terrorism in Iran, and we continue to work with the international community to try and – to prevent any attacks against innocent civilians anywhere.

QUESTION: So you think this is a link to the Taliban activity?

MR. KELLY: I’m not going to draw that link.

QUESTION: Can you say – you said that we do not sponsor any form of terrorist activity in Iran. Can you just say we had absolutely – the U.S. Government had nothing to do with this and, you know --

MR. KELLY: We do not sponsor any form of terrorism in Iran.

QUESTION: How about elsewhere?

(Laughter.)

MR. KELLY: Okay. We do not sponsor any form of terrorism anywhere in the world. Never have, never will.




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