Clinton: Iranian Attack on Israel is Attack on U.S.

By Jennifer Parker

Jun 7, 2009 7:27am

In her first Sunday show interview since becoming secretary of state, Hillary Clinton said it is “US policy” to treat an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel as an attack on the United States.

This echoed statements from Clinton’s presidential campaign in which she proposed that an Iranian attack on Israel would provoke “massive retaliation” and a U.S. response that “would be able to totally obliterate” Iran.

It also echoes Clinton’s special envoy for Iran, Dennis Ross, who suggested in his new book, “Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East,” extending the U.S. nuclear security umbrella to Israel would strengthen the U.S. hand in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

But it’s the first time Clinton has made such a declaration in her official role as secretary of state, and the first time extending America’s nuclear umbrella to Israel has been publicly declared U.S. policy by the Obama Administration.

In our “This Week” exclusive, Clinton also acknowledged that meaningful diplomatic engagement with Iran would have to come after Iran’s June 12 presidential elections, saying that President Barack Obama has not responded to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s congratulatory letter after the 2008 U.S. election because he did not want to be “part of an electoral ploy or propaganda.”

–George Stephanopoulos

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