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Transcript: Stephen Hadley on 'FOX News Sunday'

The following is a transcribed excerpt from "FOX News Sunday," March 13, 2005.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: We want to introduce you today to perhaps the most powerful man in this country it's possible you've never heard of and almost certainly have never seen. Stephen Hadley (search) is the president's new national security advisor, replacing Condoleezza Rice, and this is his first television interview since getting that key job.

Mr. Hadley, welcome to "FOX News Sunday."

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER STEPHEN HADLEY: Nice to be here.

WALLACE: As we just mentioned, the United Nations envoy says that Syrian President Assad has provided a timetable for pulling Syrian troops out of Lebanon. Does it meet President Bush's demands for full Syrian withdrawal?

HADLEY: Well, we need to see the details. He will be reporting to Kofi Annan the first part of this week. We'll see what the details are.

Initial reports are encouraging. In the end of the day, it's going to be deeds, not words, that matter.

The objective here, of course, is 1559. That U.N. Security Council resolution requires getting Syrian troops and intelligence officials out of Lebanon (search)so that the Lebanese can have elections here this spring that are free and fair and free of outside influence.

WALLACE: Now, at this point, they're talking about pulling specifically only a third of troops out by the end of the month, and then there's going to be this Lebanese-Syrian commission that's going to decide the timetable.

One, does that concern you, that they're not setting a date certain for pulling them all out? And secondly, how do you keep the pressure on Syria (search) to do this?

HADLEY: Well, we don't really know what Larson has come back with. We'll learn this week...

WALLACE: That's the U.N. envoy?

HADLEY: That is the U.N. envoy. We hope and we've made clear that the forces need to come out. It needs to be full and complete withdrawal. Our position is it needs to be done as soon as possible so that the elections can be free, fair and free of outside influence.

And so, we'll simply have to see. This is what the Lebanese people want. It's what the international community wants.

WALLACE: Let's turn to Iran (search). The administration announced a new policy toward Iran this week, that they are going to join the Europeans in offering economic incentives to Iran if Iran agrees to permanently stop its uranium enrichment.

I want to play something that the president said during the State of the Union address. Let's take a look. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iran remains the world's primary state sponsor of terror, pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve.

To the Iranian people I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Mr. Hadley, I understand that the incentives that you're offering to Iran are quite limited, but doesn't the mere fact that the U.S. and the Europeans are going to be dealing with the ruling regime in Iran, doesn't that give them strength and — not strength and not — perhaps at the expense of the democratic opposition in Iran?

HADLEY: Well, these are not concessions that we are offering to Iran. They are not concessions. What we have done is removed our objection to two elements of a package that the Europeans are putting together that they want to offer Iran in negotiations the Europeans are conducting with Iran to try and get Iran to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions.

We've talked to the Europeans about it. It's clear if those negotiations fail, then we are agreed with the Europeans that the next step is to take the matter to the U.N. Security Council.

The other thing that's important that's been achieved this week is that the Europeans have joined us in our agenda about Iran, which is not only dealing with the nuclear issue but also dealing with Iranian sponsorship for terror, obstruction of the Middle East peace process, and also failure to give freedom and democracy to their people. But the Europeans have come on to our agenda.

WALLACE: But let me just follow on this question of the incentives. What they're talking about — and I understand it would take some years — is not objecting to Iran joining the World Trade Organization (search), allowing them to buy spare parts for their civilian airliners.

I guess my question is: The mere fact that the U.S. would join in, even though we're not going to be direct parties, engaging the ruling regime, doesn't that work to strengthen it and not the democratic opposition?

HADLEY: We don't feel we are engaging the regime. Again, what we are doing is removing some objection to something the Europeans are doing.

But I do not think that the Iranian regime can take much comfort in this, because, as part of this arrangement, the Europeans now for the first time are talking about Iranian support to terror and the need for this Iranian regime to listen to their people and to give them a greater role in the political process.

So on balance, we think that the cause of freedom for the Iranian people has been advanced by the understandings we've reached with the Europeans.

WALLACE: What is the U.S. doing concretely to back up the president's pledge in that State of the Union address we just heard to help the democratic opposition in Iran?

HADLEY: Well, one of the things we are doing, of course, is exactly the president's statement: making clear that we and the rest, increasingly the international community, stand with the people of Iran in their effort to get more freedom in their own country.

WALLACE: But beyond rhetoric, what are we doing?

HADLEY: The other thing we can do and are doing is encouraging the process of exchanges with elements of Iranian society. The other thing that is very useful is that this is still a society for which communication and the Internet is available, and we want to get the word of the progress that is being made in the region as a whole to the Iranian people.

There is a wave of freedom that is sweeping this region. You see it in elections in Saudi Arabia, elections in Iraq, now presidential elections that will be multi-party in Egypt. And we think that is going to give great hope to those people in Iran who want greater freedom in their own country.

WALLACE: Just briefly to wrap this part up, Iran yesterday rejected the idea of these economic incentives and said they would never agree to permanently stop the uranium enrichment, which, as they point out validly, they are allowed to do under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

Question: Do you regard their negative statement yesterday as a final, firm "no"?

HADLEY: Look, this is a negotiating process between the Europeans and the Iranians. And it's not surprising to hear those statements. But I would point out, at the same time those statements you were talking about being made, President Khatami (search) was also saying that they were open for discussions on the kinds of guarantees and assurances they could give to the world that they were not seeking a nuclear weapon.

So the negotiation is still going on.

WALLACE: Let's turn to Iraq. Has Ibrahim al-Jafari (search), the candidate of the leading Shiite coalition, has he been able to put together a two-thirds majority to form a new government in Iraq when the national assembly meets for the first time on Wednesday?

HADLEY: Our best information is those negotiations are ongoing. They're making progress. As you pointed out, Chris, the national assembly will meet on the 16th, and there's evidence that there may be an agreement about a new government at that time. And that would obviously be an encouraging sign.

WALLACE: But, you know, the fact that it's already been a month and a half since the elections — and there is some talk, I know, today in Iraq that they are not going to have a new government by Wednesday — isn't that a reason for concern that it's taking Iraq so long to bring the various factions together and form a government?

HADLEY: Look, democracy takes time. This is a difficult process, and I think we have to look at this in the context of the enormous progress this country has made. Just two years ago it was under the control of Saddam Hussein. It has now had its first free election in decades.

And this is a difficult process by the various factions and groups in the country coming together. It's an important process because we've always said and they have said that they want a unified Iraq in which all groups and confessions can participate. Putting together such a government takes a little time. We think we're doing — they're doing pretty well.

WALLACE: The president made a surprising nomination to the United Nations this week, John Bolton (search), a State Department official — surprising because some of the things that Bolton has said over the years. Here's a small sample. Let's take a look.

"There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that is the United States, when it suits our interest and we can get others to go along."

And then there was this: "If I were redoing the Security Council today, I'd have one permanent member, because that's the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world." And then when he was asked what's that one member, he said the United States.

There has been talk that Bolton is being sent to the U.N. to deliver some tough love. Does the U.N. need reform?

HADLEY: The U.N. itself has said that it needs reform. It has put together a blue-ribbon panel of outsiders to chart a way forward on Iran — on U.N. reform and to make the organization more effective.

John Bolton is a very effective guy who cares about the United Nations. He has some ideas on how it can be improved. And we think he can make a real contribution to the process that the U.N. itself has set forward to try and make that organization more effective. That's what we want. That's what the United Nations wants.

WALLACE: All right. Because this is your first television interview, I suspect that there is some curiosity about you, particularly as someone who has operated behind the scenes for so many years. How do you feel about coming out and becoming a highly visible spokesman for the president?

HADLEY: Well, being a spokesman for the president obviously is part of the job. The president, of course, is his best spokesman, and he has in Dr. Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld very good spokesmen as well. So there is a — he has a good team, and you and others will be seeing that team on the show. It will include me as well.

But I think the national security advisor, one of his jobs is to work a little bit offstage, and I think that's where you're going to see me.

WALLACE: Is this one of the less desirable parts of the job for you?

HADLEY: On the contrary, it's great fun. I've enjoyed being with you, and I look forward to doing it again.

WALLACE: Well, you're not done quite yet.

There is some speculation about where you fit on the foreign policy spectrum. You worked at one time in the Defense Department for then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, so some people say you must be a hawk. But your protege — you were the protege before that of Brent Scowcroft (search), who is seen as an internationalist moderate.

Where is Stephen Hadley?

HADLEY: I work for the president of the United States, and I support his foreign policy. And I am charged by him to work with his National Security Council (search) team to make sure that he has the best information he can get in order to make the decisions he needs to make.

You know, I think what's lost here is that the foreign policy of the United States is really set by the president of the United States, and that's the person who we all serve.

WALLACE: If you had to describe yourself in terms of your own policies, your own foreign policy vision along the foreign policy spectrum, where would you put yourself?

HADLEY: I would say that I have been strongly influenced and share the president's vision about the importance for the United States and the role it can play to enhance the freedom and democracy in the world. And at the same time we need to find practical ways by which that can be accomplished. That's our charge.

WALLACE: Which predecessor as national security advisor do you see as a model?

HADLEY: I think there's something to be learned from all of them. Obviously, I worked under the National Security Council under Brent Scowcroft. That's the model I'm most familiar with. But I've tried to reach out and have contacts with others of my predecessors and to pull from them what the president needs, what this president needs at this time to support his role in foreign policy.

WALLACE: And, finally, is the president telling the truth when he says that you wear penny loafers to cut brush on the ranch in Texas?

HADLEY: That's a great story.

(LAUGHTER)

But I don't recall it that way. But I do recall that it's one of the best parts of the job, actually, getting outside and cutting a little cedar on the ranch down in Crawford.

WALLACE: So what were you wearing, if it wasn't penny loafers?

HADLEY: You know, I don't remember.

(LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: Well, that's a non-denial denial.

National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Mr. Hadley, thanks so much for coming, and please come on back.

HADLEY: I'd love to do it. Thanks very much.