- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham said in a statement late Tuesday that she supports the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, taking credit for helping put in place some of the sanctions she says aided the negotiations and saying no options should be taken off the table, including military ones, to respond to cheating.

“I am still studying the details, but based on the briefings I received and a review of the documents, I support the agreement because it can help us prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Mrs. Clinton said. “With vigorous enforcement, unyielding verification, and swift consequences for any violations, this agreement can make the United States, Israel, and our Arab partners safer.”

As president, she said, “I would use every tool in our arsenal to compel rigorous Iranian compliance” and that the response to any cheating must be “immediate and decisive — starting with the return of sanctions but taking no options off the table, including, if necessary, our military options.”

“The message to Iran should be loud and clear: We will never allow you to acquire a nuclear weapon; not just during the term of this agreement — never,” said Mrs. Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner.

Speaking to reporters earlier on Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton had called the agreement, which would curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief, an “important step” but stopped short of a full endorsement. Many of her potential GOP rivals in the 2016 race had quickly denounced the deal.

But in the statement, Mrs. Clinton called the agreement “the culmination of a sustained strategy of pressure and engagement executed over many years.”

“As secretary of state, I logged tens of thousands of miles and twisted a lot of arms to build a global coalition to impose the most crippling sanctions in history,” she said. “That unprecedented pressure delivered a blow to Iran’s economy and gave us leverage at the negotiating table, starting in Oman in 2012. I know from experience what it took to build a global effort to get this done; I know what it will take to rally our partners to enforce it.”

Mrs. Clinton said even with a nuclear agreement, Iran poses “a real challenge” to the United States and “a grave threat” to Israel, and that it continues to destabilize countries like Yemen and Lebanon and exacerbate the conflict in Syria, while fueling terrorism in the region and beyond.

“We have to broadly confront and raise the costs for Iran’s destabilizing activities, insist on the return of U.S. citizens being held in Iranian prisons, and strengthen security cooperation with our allies and partners,” she said. “Sanctions for terrorism, and other non-nuclear sanctions, must remain a key part of our strategy and must be vigorously enforced.”

Mrs. Clinton said that as president she would invite senior Israeli leadership to Washington for “early talks on further strengthening our alliance.”

“We must also deepen our security relationship with our Arab partners threatened by Iran. This includes our continued presence and providing needed capabilities. Iran should have no doubt about our support for the security of our partners,” she said.

“I know that there are people of good faith who oppose this deal — people I respect,” Mrs. Clinton continued. “They raise concerns that have to be taken seriously. They are right to call for extreme vigilance. I am as familiar with Iranian behavior and the need to confront it as anyone. I support this agreement because I believe it is the most effective path of all the alternatives available to the U.S. and our partners to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

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