Briefing Bites: Iran, XL pipeline, and pressuring the 'super committee'
November 7th, 2011
03:46 PM ET

Briefing Bites: Iran, XL pipeline, and pressuring the 'super committee'

Today’s briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney spanned many topics, everything from the impending release of the IAEA’s report on Iran’s nuclear program to the actions of the Congressional ‘super committee’ to the proposed Keystone natural gas pipeline.

On the Iranian nuclear report, Carney’s common refrain was that he wouldn’t comment on a report that hasn’t been released yet, but he did expound a little bit on what the Obama administration expects to see when the IAEA releases its report this week:

We certainly expect it to echo and reinforce what we've been saying about Iran's behavior and it's failure to live up to its international obligations and it will, I'm sure, echo our concern about Iran's nuclear program. What I can also say, because of the leadership of this president, we have mobilized the international community in a way that has never existed before to take action to pressure Iran, to isolate Iran. We now have in place the most aggressive, isolating and debilitating sanctions regime ever. And that regime has had an impact, as the Iranian president himself recently noted. We continue to focus on a diplomatic channel and it is because of the kind of consensus that we've achieved at the international level among our partners and allies in dealing with Iran that we're able to continue to isolate and put pressure on Iran and to insist that Iran get right with the world and live up to its international obligations.

Just a day after a large anti-pipeline protest literally surrounded the White House, Carney was asked again about how involved the president will be in the final decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project:

This process, as we have said all along, resides as housed within the State Department. Both as called upon by an executive order that pre-dates this administration and by tradition that long pre-dates that. The process is an open one that in a sense while State Department runs it, it is required to take in input from a variety of agencies in the executive branch and it is absolutely going to take into account the criteria that the president laid out in that interview that you referenced with the television station in Omaha. And that includes both the jobs impact, the economic impact, public health impact, environmental health impact – all of those things here are very important to this process. In the end we fully expect the decision, the resolution of this issue, the determination, will reflect this president's views – it's his administration, the Obama administration – the State Department very much is a part of the Obama administration.

Somewhat interestingly, Carney avoided a questions about whether President Obama would commit to veto any bill that would weaken or get around the budgetary sequester if the ‘super committee’ fails to reach a compromise. Here’w what he said:

Congress passed this legislation not that many weeks ago – and created the sequester precisely because it was supposed to be onerous and designed to hold Congress' feet to the fire and force action. We think Congress ought to focus on its job and that it ought to move according to that legislation.


Topics: Briefing Bites

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Jason Usborne

    I am in favor of a pipeline, but not for unrefined petroleum. I think it would be wise to have water pipelines from North to South, preferably built into 4 maglev train lines: One from British Columbia to Baja, one from Edmonton to El Paso; one from the Toronto Peninsula to the Mexican Federal District; and one from Halifax to Key West. These would ideally be built by a WPA-style program that would be part of a new trade agreement between Canada the USA and Mexico, and would open the question to the citizenry of the 3 nations if they would like to begin a dialogue that would over time result in a single nation.

    November 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Rick Thomson

      Your not getting our water!

      November 12, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  2. Koorosh

    had tends of thousands of motonirs at the precinct level and who signed off the results for tens of thousands of ballot boxes. The greens have never denied this simple fact. They have yet to produce their own nationwide disaggregated data even alternative data at the provincial level would be useful to support their claims. All we have, however, are these ridiculous accounts giving Ahmadnejad only 10% of the share of the vote ,overall, which is clearly preposterous.@EricI am not doubting the authenticity of the cables one bit. They seem like the real deal, and people in the intelligence community would have had access to them. But as you say, one has to wonder why Wikileaks has provided nearly 300 documents most of which are related to Iran and which can be used to sully its affairs with the Arab world and to vindicate the Israeli stance. Tel Aviv is buoyant about the release.I have noticed that the self-censoring is the worst part: it would be nice to know who the various sources are, but on many cables they are missing defeats the whole point of a leak . None of these documents are *top* secret and would therefore not compromise national security in any real way. Many are just confidential or even unclassified.

    March 4, 2012 at 1:57 am |