“The United States will never allow you to acquire a nuclear weapon,” Clinton said during remarks at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C Wednesday morning, in a message aimed directly at Iran’s leaders. “As president I will take whatever actions are necessary to protect the U.S. and its allies. I will not hesitate to take military action.”
The democratic presidential candidate, who says she supports the Iran nuclear deal as “part of a larger strategy” for dealing with Iran, explained that military action would only be a last resort after trying diplomatic routes first.
“Because we’ve shown our commitment to diplomacy first, the world will likely join us,” she predicted.
Clinton’s remarks on Iran come just a few hours before Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, along with former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, are expected to take to the Capitol for a rally to protest the White House-backed deal.
While Clinton did not call out Trump or Cruz by name in her speech, she did go after republican candidates generally who oppose the plan.
“I have a hard time respecting those who approach issues as serious as this with unserious tall, especially anyone running to be president of the United States,” Clinton said. "Several Republican candidates boast they’ll tear up the agreement in 2017. That’s not leadership, it’s recklessness.”
Even so, Clinton, the former Secretary of State, acknowledged that there are some “skeptics” who make legitimate points.
"Is it perfect? Of course not. No agreement like this ever is. But is it a strong agreement? Yes, it is,” she said.
Clinton also sympathized with Israelis who she said have “every reason to be alarmed by a country that both denies its existence and seeks its destruction.”
“I would not support this agreement for one second if I thought it put Israel in greater danger,” she said, adding, “I say it with humility…I’m not Israeli.”
In addition, Clinton pledged to sell Israel sophisticated F-35 pilot aircrafts and to invite the Israeli Prime Minister to the White House during her first month as president.
Following her remarks, Clinton participated in a Q&A with attendees where she called for a “global effort” to help with the Syrian migrant crisis, lamented that the United States does not have a “consistent foreign policy that is bipartisan, let alone nonpartisan,” and took a jab at one of her favorite foes, Russian President Vladmir Putin.
“Now, I don't admire very much about Mr. Putin but the idea that you could stand up and say 'I will be your next President,' that does have a certain attraction to it,” she quipped.
Overall, Clinton appeared in humorous spirits despite the serious nature of her remarks and her ongoing cough and hoarse throat.
After having what she called a “massive allergy assault” on stage, Clinton took a sip of water, apologized to the audience, and pinned it, sarcastically, on her opponents.
“Republican histamines are everywhere,” she joked.