Clinton Reflects on Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

Clinton talks to ABC News about Obama's secret letter, detained U.S. journalist.

ByABC News
March 3, 2009, 3:02 PM

JERUSALEM, March 3, 2009— -- In an interview today with ABC News, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in on the detainment of an American journalist in Iran, as well as a letter President Obama sent to the Russian president.

On her first trip here to the Middle East as the nation's top diplomat, Clinton also reflected on Iran's nuclear ambitions and U.S. relations with nations like Syria and Israel.

"Iran's pursuit of the nuclear weapon is deeply troubling to not only the U.S. but many people throughout the world," Clinton said.

"We're at the beginning of this process of putting enormous pressure on Iran from all kinds of different angles in order to persuade them or prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons," Clinton added later.

Watch "World News With Charles Gibson" tonight at 6:30 ET for the full report

Clinton voiced her concern for American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi, 31, after the Iranian government confirmed her arrest.

"This, unfortunately, demonstrates the nature of the Iranian government," Clinton said. "That a young Iranian-American woman journalist would be detained this way. The State Department has reached out to our Swiss contacts to ask for information and express our deep concern about this young woman's fate. We are going to use every tool at our disposal to try to bring her home."

Clinton also faced questions about the letter Obama sent to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev during his first month in office. U.S officials today said the letter contained an offer from Obama to back down on plans for a U.S. missile defense shield in Eastern Europe if Russian cooperation in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is successful. Both of those issues have challenged U.S.-Russian relations in recent years.

"I'm not going to get into the content of the private letters that our president sent to the Russian president," Clinton said. "But I think it's well known that we have a broad range of issues to discuss with the Russians. I'll be starting that conversation this coming Friday."