US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told NBC's Meet the Press that the US is doing everything possible to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. "We're going to do everything we can to prevent you from ever getting a nuclear weapon, but your pursuit is futile," she said.
MR. GREGORY: Let me turn to another hot spot, and that is Iran. A big headline this week, again, with your words: "Clinton's `Defense Umbrella' Stirs Tensions." The headlines goes on, "Suggests U.S. Will Have to Protect Allies From Nuclear-Armed Iran." You were in Bangkok on Wednesday, and this is what you said that got this started.(Videotape, Wednesday)
SEC'Y CLINTON: We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment, that if the United States extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it's unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer, because they won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon.(End videotape)
MR. GREGORY: Did you mean to suggest that the U.S. is considering a nuclear umbrella that would say to nations in the Arab world that an attack on you, just like NATO or Japan is an attack on the United States, and the United States would retaliate?
SEC'Y CLINTON: Well, I think it's clear that we're trying to affect the internal calculus of the Iranian regime. You know, the Iranian government, which is facing its own challenges of legitimacy from its people, has to know that that a pursuit of nuclear weapons, something that our country along with our allies stand strongly against. We believe as a matter of policy it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons. The G-8 came out with a very strong statement to that effect coming from Italy. So we are united in our continuing commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. What we want to do is to send a message to whoever is making these decisions that if you're pursuing nuclear weapons for the purpose of intimidating, of projecting your power, we're not going to let that happen. First, we're going to do everything we can to prevent you from ever getting a nuclear weapon. But your pursuit is futile, because we will never let Iran--nuclear-armed, not nuclear-armed, it is something that we view with great concern, and that's why we're doing everything we can to prevent that from ever happening.
MR. GREGORY: All right, but let's be specific. Are you talking about a nuclear umbrella?
SEC'Y CLINTON: We, we are, we are not talking in specifics, David, because, you know, that would come later, if at all. You know, my view is you hope for the best, you plan for the worst. Our hope is--that's why we're engaged in the president's policy of engagement toward Iran--is that Iran will understand why it is in their interest to go along with the consensus of the international community, which very clearly says you have rights and responsibilities. You have a right to pursue the peaceful use of civil nuclear power. You do not have a right to obtain a nuclear weapon. You do not have the right to have the full enrichment and reprocessing cycle under your control. But there's a lot that we can do with Iran if Iran accepts what is the international consensus.