U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says "one of the great
frustrations" of the Middle East peace process "is that there are rejectionist terrorist groups who at every turn try to
frustrate the efforts of the Palestinians and the
Israelis for peace."
In a Feb. 4 interview in Berlin with Jonathan Karl of ABC News, Rice said: "The Iranians are major supporters of these rejectionist groups and the Iranians of course have believed that Israel should not exist in the Middle East. They (Iran's leaders) are out of step. They are out of step with where the Middle East is going."
Karl recalled that President Bush had said to Iranian people yearning for freedom that the United States is with them, and asked the Secretary of State how the U.S. planned to show that support.
Rice replied that "Just telling the Iranian people, that they are not forgotten in the great reform movement that is going to sweep through the Middle East is extremely important. And holding the Iranian regime responsible for its behavior both internally and externally is also extremely important. The Iranian people are no different than the people of Iraq or the people of Afghanistan or the people of Ukraine or the people of Germany or the United States- they deserve the human dignity of being able to live in liberty."
Asked if she believed the Iranian leadership "should go," Rice responded "The Iranian people clearly deserve better.
"But the Iranian regime needs to be reminded that the entire world, the entire International Atomic Energy Agency, for instance, is united in its concerns and suspicions about what the Iranians are doing with their nuclear programs," she added according to a transcript released by her office.
"That the world is not going to stand by, those of us who are interested in Israeli and Palestinian peace, and countenance the continued support for terrorism which will undo the very peace that we seek. That, as in my discussions here in Europe, as people have said, we have to stand for democracy in Iran. If we donít stand for democracy in Iran, why are the Iranian people are any different than the others for whom we stand for democracy? So, our policies are pretty clear here. The goal of this administration is to work with others to deal with Iranian behavior that is both internal and external, that is a problem for the kind of Middle East that we wish to build."