Clinton on GOP Criticism on Iran Policy: ‘Iran Cannot Be Permitted to Have a Nuclear Weapon; No Option Is Off the Table’

Nov 18, 2011 8:09am
gty hillary clinton dm 111118 wblog Clinton on GOP Criticism on Iran Policy: Iran Cannot Be Permitted to Have a Nuclear Weapon; No Option Is Off the Table

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refrained from wallowing into the political waters stirred during the recent Republican presidential debate, when the Obama administration’s foreign policy – especially as it pertains to Iran – was assailed.

But asked about Mitt Romney’s pledge that Iran would never obtain a nuclear weapon during his presidency, and Romney’s assertion that he would more aggressively remind the Iranians that he would be willing to use military means to end their nuclear weapons capability, Clinton reiterated that “it is the policy of this administration that Iran cannot be permitted to have a nuclear weapon and no option has ever been taken off the table.”

Clinton said that “President Obama has forged a consensus in the international community, including China and Russia, to a much greater extent than was ever done before. … The sanctions are really having an impact, and there will be … more to come if necessary.”

TAPPER: The foreign policy of the Obama administration was under fire a few days ago when the Republicans had a debate. Particularly the Iran policy, which so far has failed to convince the Iranian leadership to stop pursuing a nuclear weapon. Mitt Romney, the Republican front-runner, said that if he was president he would be more aggressive about asserting the fact the military option is on the table. He would be reaching out more to what he called the insurgency. And he said under the Romney administration, Iran would not get a nuclear weapon. Can the Obama administration make such a guarantee?

CLINTON: Well first of all, I’m not going to comment on the political give and take of the Republican primary. That’s something that, uh, I’m really not paying a lot of attention to –

TAPPER: — Sure, but the issue itself –

CLINTON: But the issue itself, I think that what has actually happened over the last three years is that President Obama has forged a consensus in the international community, including China and Russia, to a much greater extent than was ever done before. You get no argument now from anybody that, uh, we want to work together to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

And I think we’ve made progress. The sanctions are really, having an impact and there will be, you know, more to come if necessary. And what we are looking at is what’s going on inside Iran. There’s a lot of discontent. A lot of political upheaval and some of that is due to the pressure that is being brought to bear from the outside.

So, you know, I understand politics. I’ve spent a lot of my life in it, but I think looking at the facts, uh, we are, uh, on a steady course that combines our dual tracks of pressure and engagement and it is the policy of this administration that Iran cannot be permitted to have a nuclear weapon and no option has ever been taken off the table

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