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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Rumsfeld: "I've got 'hyperpowerful' indigestion now that you mention it."

SPIEGEL: How concerned are you about Iran?

Rumsfeld: All of us have to be concerned when a country that important, large and wealthy is disconnected from the normal interactions with the rest of the world. They obviously have certain ambitions, powers and military capabilities ...

SPIEGEL: ...and nuclear ambitions...

Rumsfeld: That's apparently what France, Germany, the UK and the International Atomic Energy Agency have concluded. Everyone wants to have the Iranians as part of the world community, but they aren't yet. Therefore there's less predictability and more danger.

SPIEGEL: The US is trying to make the case in the United Nations Security Council.

Rumsfeld: I would not say that. I thought France, Germany and the UK were working on that problem.

SPIEGEL: What kind of sanctions are we talking about?

Rumsfeld: I'm not talking about sanctions. I thought you, and the U.K. and France were.

SPIEGEL: You aren't?

Rumsfeld: I'm not talking about sanctions. You've got the lead. Well, lead!

SPIEGEL: You mean the Europeans.

Rumsfeld: Sure. My Goodness, Iran is your neighbour. We don't have to do everything!

SPIEGEL: We are in the middle of regime change in Germany...

Rumsfeld: ... that's hardly the phrase I would have selected.

SPIEGEL: The change in government hasn't been quite as sweeping as many had expected. What are your hopes and expectations as to the new government?

Rumsfeld: You know, President Bush wouldn't even allow me to get involved in his presidential re-election campaign. He thinks that the secretary of state and the secretary of defense should stay out of politics. So, if I am staying out of American politics you can be sure, I would stay out of German politics. It seems to me that free countries engaged in the world tend to be a good thing. But, the German people and leadership have to decide about the extent to which they want to be engaged in the world. That's up to them, not me.

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