News / Middle East

Clinton Defends Administration Outreach to Iran

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday the Obama administration's diplomatic outreach to Iran in past months has helped its current effort to line up world support for new sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program. Administration Iran policy came under Republican criticism at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

The issue of Iran's nuclear program dominated proceedings for a second straight day, as Clinton appeared at Congressional hearings to defend the administration's $53 billion foreign affairs budget for the coming year.

At a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher suggested that while it may have pleased U.S. European allies, outreach to Iran in the early months of the Obama administration was seen as a sign of weakness by Iranian leaders.

"Playing to our liberal nilly-willy friends in Europe is less important for us than being tough with the mullah-repressive regime, a murderous regime, that is engaged in murdering people of their streets," Rohrabacher said.  "Don't you think that this conciliatory tone, which as you just admitted, certainly has not been accepted by the mullahs, has in some way depressed or at least hurt the spirit on the streets of Iran of those young people who are trying to struggle to end this Mullah regime?" He asked

Clinton acknowledged to Rohrabacher that U.S. overtures to Iran by various means to discuss its nuclear program and other issues have not drawn a response.

But she said it was always a two-track approach that threatened penalties against Iran if it spurned dialogue on the nuclear issue, and that the engagement effort has brought the administration "an enormous amount of credibility and goodwill" in its current drive for new sanctions.

She said the two-track strategy enjoys broad support among members of the Iranian opposition, including former prisoners with whom she has spoken.

"They actually think President Obama has struck exactly the right tone and approach, to give heart to the people who are putting their lives on the line, who know that we support their efforts, but also recognize that they've got a long hard road ahead. And what we're trying to do is to get international opinion that will force the Iranian regime to change its calculations," she said.

Clinton said Iran's refusal to respond, and what she termed a litany of acts of defiance on the nuclear issue "demonstrate what the facts are" concerning its ambitions for a nuclear capability, and have improved prospects for effective international sanctions.

"I think because we were willing to engage, we have a much more receptive audience than we might have had otherwise," said Clinton.  "And I think that our efforts to move forward in the [U.N.] Security Council should not be viewed as our exclusive effort. Because we've stated clearly, we will look at additional bilateral, and preferably multi-lateral sanctions with willing nations, on top of whatever we get out of the Security Council," she added.

Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful but Clinton has recently spoken about what she termed that country's "pursuit of nuclear weapons."

She told Senators at hearings Wednesday progress is being made in convincing permanent Security Council members Russia and China on the need for more sanctions, and that she expects a resolution to be debated in the council in the next 30 to 60 days.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid