This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 11, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Secretary Rice, good to see you again.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Good to see you, Sean.
HANNITY: You've had a busy day.
RICE: I have, indeed.
HANNITY: Why don't you sum up what happened today? Because I know there was a lot of contact between you and the Israeli prime minister in getting this resolution together. Where are we, and what was going on today?
RICE: Well, we've been working, Sean, for now several weeks, really, to try to bring an end so the large-scale violence that would not allow a return to the status quo ante. I know that there were a lot of people who talked about an immediate cease-fire.
We always wanted this to happen as quickly as possible, but the conditions had to be there so that you can't have a state within a state again, going across the Blue Line, attacking Israel, and then causing, sort of plunging the region into this chaos.
Today was the culmination of that. I had several conversations with the Israeli leadership, the foreign minister, the prime minister, several conversations with the Lebanese leadership, with Prime Minister Siniora. And I think we got to a good outcome for both Israel and for Lebanon, who want the same thing. They want the south to be a place where the Lebanese government and the Lebanese army -- with the help of a robust international force -- are able to prevent the kind of vacuum that led to this crisis in the first place.
HANNITY: Is the U.N. — we talk a lot, and the president's spoken at length about it's "us versus them", it's a War on Terror. Hezbollah is a terror organization. There has been a state within a state, as you point out. Is the U.N., is this resolution, is it stopping Israel from ultimately defeating Hezbollah? And would that have been a good thing?
RICE: Well, Hezbollah has to be stopped. It has to be stopped from being the state within the state. And so you have to ask, what's the best way to do that?
Now, I don't think there is any doubt that there have been — there's been significant damage to some of Hezbollah's capabilities, to some of their command and control. But ultimately, the way to stop Hezbollah is when there is a Lebanese government and a Lebanese army, with a major international force, a robust international force that can make sure that the south is not the vacuum that it's been for the last six years.
And so this is the really important step forward, and this force, the international force and its mandate, will be very robust.
HANNITY: At different times though during this conflict — and I know our government has supported the Lebanese government tremendously — but at different times the prime minister, the defense minister have spoken out [and been] very supportive of Hezbollah. If Hezbollah is a terror organization and they get outspoken support from the Lebanese government, why are we fighting so hard for them to succeed?
RICE: Well, the Lebanese government, first of all, has Hezbollah ministers within it via the elections. But what the Lebanese government has also been saying is that they cannot have armed militias that are operating outside of the authority of the state.
They, also, have said that they have to live up to their obligations under U.N. Resolution 1559, the Taif Accords, to disarm those militias. And so what we're trying to do is to create an environment in which the Lebanese government can finally carry through on its obligations to disarm Hezbollah.
HANNITY: Is there a danger that, if Hezbollah is not defeated — because I think we understand the unmatched fanaticism of the terrorists — if they're not ultimately defeated, if Israel doesn't finish the job, does it give the funding of Iran, $100 million a year, the support of Iran and Syria, does it give them an opportunity to re-arm to fight another day? How does this resolution prevent that from happening?
RICE: First of all, this resolution has an arms embargo within it and a responsibility of the Lebanese government to make sure that illegal arms are not coming into the country.
HANNITY: Wasn't that in 1559, that it was supposed to be disarmed?
RICE: Yes, but we are in a different situation now where the Lebanese will have help doing that, to make sure that their borders are secure. It's also the case — there was not an arms embargo before. And so now Syria, Iran, whoever violates that embargo will be violating a Security Council resolution.
It's not, Sean, going to be the final step in creating the circumstances we need in the south; it's a first step. But it's a good first step because it does just very strongly reinforce the authority of the Lebanese government, the Lebanese armed forces, and a force, an international force that can help them.
HANNITY: What do we do about Iran? In many ways, I think that most observers think that Iran was fighting this war by proxy. The Israelis found Iranian Revolutionary Guards fighting side by side with Hezbollah. They fund Hezbollah $100 million a year. The long-range rockets, they took credit for giving it to them. And we now discovered that there had been training of the people that kidnapped the Israeli soldiers from Iran. What do we do? And, of course, [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad says wipe Israeli off the map and annihilate them. What do we do about the Iranian problem?
RICE: I've said many times Iran is a very big strategic threat. And we have to deal with that strategic threat. For instance, I think it's extremely important that, should Iran not respond to the Security Council resolution that was just passed on its nuclear program, that we go ahead with another resolution that begins to impose sanctions on Iran.
I think it's important that we begin to use financial measures to make it difficult for Iran to engage in the kinds of support of weapons of mass destruction and proliferation that it engages in. And ultimately, the international community has to stand up to an Iran that is a state sponsor of terror, really the central banker of terror, terrorism, and that is causing this destabilization in the international system.
HANNITY: If we assume that Ahmadinejad and his incendiary rhetoric continues, if his pursuit of nuclear weapons continues, must America and the world consider military force to stop him and stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power? I mean, assuming that somebody who says they want to wipe Israel off the map is not somebody you can negotiate with or that wants to go along with the world community, at some point a military option has got to be considered, no?
RICE: Well, obviously the president isn't going to take the military option off the table. He doesn't any of these options off the table.
We still believe that a robust, diplomatic response to Iran's intransigence on its nuclear weapons will work, on its nuclear program, will work, particularly if strong measures are taken that make it different for the Iranian regime to continue to argue that they're playing no price for their defiance of the international system.
I think, Sean, they were surprised that the resolution passed in the Security Council with the weight that it did, Russia voting for it, China voting for it. And so we will, if on August 31st there is not Iranian response, I think we'll move to another resolution.
HANNITY: Our war, the president said yesterday, is with Islamic fascists. Some people took issue with the use of that word today, but that's really what it is, isn't it? Isn't it? Is that the right terminology?
RICE: Well, the key here is that Islam is not the problem, of course. The problem is that there are some people who ...
HANNITY: In the name of religion.
RICE: ... much as the fascists do, who, in the name of religion, just carry out the most horrible attacks, where really the target is civilians. Civilians are not "collateral damage" in their wars; civilians are the targets.
HANNITY: A lot of people have been using the analogy of the rise of Nazism, and the world fell asleep. There were a few people that tried to wake the world up, Winston Churchill the obvious example.
HANNITY: There were other people that thought that they could negotiate with Hitler their time and have peace in their time. Do you see that analogy? Is that applicable in this particular case?
RICE: I think, whenever you have irreconcilables, if you will, people who just want to destroy, as the Nazis did, as these fascists do, these modern-day fascists do, I don't think there's any doubt that you have to see this with moral clarity and you have to see that there's a right and a wrong.
I also think that you need allies in this war. And so those who are trying to be the fresh, new start for the Middle East, those who are trying to bring a more moderate face and voice to the politics of the Middle East, people like, frankly, Prime Minister Siniora of Lebanon or President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, or certainly those brave Iraqi leaders who are fighting now a terrible terrorist toll on their people, we need those allies and we need to support them.
But we can only support them if we're strong and if we're clear about who the enemy is and if we're willing to confront that enemy.
HANNITY: Secretary Rice, always good to see you. Thank you for your time on a very busy day.
RICE: Thank you.
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