Countering Iranian Threats With Toughness and Diplomacy

Hillary Clinton’s tenacious diplomacy paved the way for the Iran deal.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton twisted a lot of arms to build a global coalition to impose crippling sanctions and apply unprecedented pressure on Iran. And she secretly sent senior aides to engage in back-channel diplomacy with Iran, ultimately bring them to the negotiating table and paving the way for the historic deal that blocks Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.

  • Wall Street Journal: "Mrs. Clinton surely pulled out every stop to get Russia and particularly China […] on board."
  • POLITICO: "At the State Department, Clinton spent months laboriously building support for United Nations sanctions against Iran, a central part of Obama’s strategy to force Tehran to the atomic bargaining table"

Clinton recently delivered a major address on Iran, vowing to vigorously enforce the deal and ensure they can never obtain a nuclear weapon, and detailing her broader plan five-point plan for countering threats from Iran. The plan was met with broad praise:

  • US News & World Report: “Hillary Clinton delivered a poised and methodical explanation of her decision to support the Iran nuclear deal […] Clinton’s address was most important because it displayed her readiness to be commander-in-chief. She framed the deal not as a triumphant victory but rather as the best of undesirable options with a brutal state sponsor of terrorism.”
  • New York Times Editorial: “Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, delivered a detailed speech outlining her ‘distrust and verify’ approach for implementing the deal, which she supports. And she called for a broader strategy that includes plans for a stepped-up effort to contain Iran’s military activity and increased military support for Israel. That is the responsible way forward.”

But even as we make progress with Iran, including the full implementation of the nuclear deal and the long overdue release of four Americans who had been wrongly imprisoned, Hillary Clinton has made clear that we can’t take our eye off the ball. She released this statement yesterday:

“I am greatly relieved by the safe return of American prisoners from Iran. Their families and our country have waited and prayed for this day to come.

“I also welcome the full implementation of the nuclear agreement, an important achievement of diplomacy backed by pressure. Implementation marks an important step forward in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran has dismantled centrifuges, disabled a reactor, and shipped out almost all of its enriched uranium. These are important steps that make the United States, our allies, and the entire world safer. I congratulate President Obama and his team, and I’m proud of the role I played to get this process started.

“But we shouldn’t thank Iran for the prisoners or for following through on its obligations. These prisoners were held unjustly by a regime that continues to threaten the peace and security of the Middle East. Another American, Bob Levinson, still isn’t home with his family. The treatment of our Navy sailors earlier this week was offensive, including the release of a demeaning and provocative video. Iran is still violating UN Security Council resolutions with its ballistic missile program, which should be met with new sanctions designations and firm resolve.

“So we can’t take our eye off the ball. As President, my approach will be to distrust and verify. I will vigorously enforce the nuclear deal as part of a comprehensive strategy that confronts all of Iran’s negative actions in the region and stand side-by-side with our ally Israel and our Arab partners.”