Transcript: Interview With Hillary Clinton

Clinton: Well, I'm very um … uh, pleased by how supportive the Russians have been in what has become a United International effort. Uh, both in the existing framework, something called the P5 plus 1, which is Russia and China and … and, you know, Great Britain and France and Germany and … and us, and the EU, we're all trying to figure out how to, uh … put uh … uh … this issue of Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions, you know, on the very top, uh … of the agenda and I think we're succeeding. Uh, this goes back to the President's inauguration where he said, you know, I'll reach out my hand if you unclench your fist. Uh, we know that there are lots of problems between, um … us and the Iranians.

Um, but we also know that we remain committed to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons power. So what have we done? In that meeting in Geneva on October 1st, three very important, um … steps were taken; one, open up your, uh … previously undisclosed site at Qom to inspection. Number two, ship out your low enriched uranium for reprocessing outside of Iran. Something Russia and the United States jointly presented, which I thought was quite significant.

And began to set a schedule for further meetings, because we are pursuing this diplomatic track. Everybody hopes this succeeds. You know, sanctions, which there's a lot talk about, are a result of the diplomatic track failing. So we are committed to the diplomatic track, but, you know, my view in life, and in, uh … foreign policy is you hope for the best and you plan for the worst. And so I'm thrilled that, uh … we got the kind of united front on the diplomatic track, but we're also going to continue to look at the potential sanctions if we're not successful.

CM: The foreign secretary here seemed to dismiss, to some extent, the idea of sanctions. Was that the same position you've heard from the President?

Clinton: Well, I think, to me they're not mutually inconsistent, but the President, and he repeated again to us yesterday, has said consistently is that, look, Russia does not prefer sanctions. You know? They … they have lots of doubts and concerns about sanctions. But sanctions may be inevitable. Whether they are or not is what we're trying to determine. So I … I don't see any inconsistency in that.

CM: But do you feel, and I guess this is what the American people are interested in knowing, that if sanctions become necessary, the U.S. will have Russia's support.

Clinton: I believe if sanctions become necessary, we will have, uh … support from Russia. Because, for example, even Minister [Sergei] Lavrov has said that if Iran were to renege on the inspections, or renege on the, uh … uh … agreement we've reached about shipping out the, uh … low enriched uranium called L.U., uh, what else would you do? You'd have to sanction.

So, I mean, we are … we take this step by step. And I think the other thing to know about the Russians, for example, and it's … it's true for some other countries as well, they believe diplomacy should always be in private, not in public. That you don't … you don't get what you need if you pressure people in public. You work it out behind the scenes. You know, our country is much more open. (Laughs). We conduct everything in public it seems like. So we have a slightly different approach, that we think both public and private combined are the best way to go.

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