US Diplomat Talks Tough on Iran in Israel

The United States is not pleased with the previous rounds of diplomacy with Iran and are determined to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Israel on Monday. In comments released by the State Department, Clinton emphasized that latter point, saying, “We will use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Despite the implications of those words, Clinton made clear that “we all prefer a diplomatic resolution and Iran’s leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision. The choice is ultimately Iran’s.”

However, the American diplomat showed clear disappointment with the past three rounds of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+!1—the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China. Clinton referred to Iran’s offers in the discussions as “nonstarters.”

She said further, “Despite three rounds of talks, it appears that Iran has yet to make a strategic decision to address the international community’s concerns and fulfill their obligations under the IAEA and the UN Security Council.”

Clinton, in Jerusalem to meet with Israeli leaders on a variety of issues, told a press conference the latest opportunity to “compare notes” on the Iranian nuclear matter are “particularly timely because our two-track policy of diplomacy and pressure is in full move here, because the P-5+1 talks, with the imposition of even tougher sanctions.”

A European embargo on Iranian oil went into effect in July, and the US recently further strengthened other sanctions on Iran as well. While the goal of convincing Iran to back down on their nuclear ambitions have yet to be realized, Clinton said both the US and Israel know the sanctions are having an effect.

“We know the sanctions are biting. Israel and the United States agree on that,” she said.

As part of her talks with Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Clinton said they talked about “concrete steps that we can take to continue to build the pressure” on Iran.

“We are pressing forward in close consultation with Israel” she said. “I’m not going to prejudge the outcome of these efforts. I think that it’s absolutely fair to say we are on the same page at this moment trying to figure our way forward to have the maximum impact on affecting the decisions that Iran makes.”

Israel has repeatedly encouraged the P5+1 not to compromise in their demand Iran take concrete steps towards halting their nuclear ambitions. Israel has long expressed concerns that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

The Israel-US Iran talks come just days after Netanyahu accused Iran of being behind a Hezbollah terror plot against Israeli targets in Cyprus.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, July 16, 2012)