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Hillary Clinton defends Iran nuclear accord

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton expressed firm support Wednesday for the nuclear accord with Iran, calling it flawed but still strong.

Clinton added that the agreement must be strictly enforced and said that if elected president next year, she would not hesitate to use military force if Iran fails to live up to its word and tries to develop a bomb.

The agreement struck in July between the United States and other world powers and Iran provides Tehran relief from crippling economic sanctions in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.

Republicans and other critics complain that it does not do away with the program altogether, fails to provide for spot inspections of nuclear sites or force Iran to end support for militant groups like Hamas.

“Is it perfect? Well, of course not,” Clinton said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. “No agreement like this ever is. But is it a strong agreement? Yes, it is.”

The former secretary of state added: “Either we move forward on the path of diplomacy and seize this chance to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon. Or we turn down a more dangerous path leading to a far less certain and riskier future. That’s why I support this deal.”

She added that the accord is positive for the security of Israel, which vehemently opposes it.

Republicans in the US Congress and many Democrats are also opposed. But President Barack Obama has won enough support to guarantee it will survive any attempt to shoot it down in an imminent vote.

Largely echoing the position the Obama administration has held for months, Clinton insisted America would never let the Iranians develop a nuclear weapon.

“As president, I will take whatever action is necessary to protect the United States and our allies. I will not hesitate to take military action if Iran attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon,” she said.

She added that the United States should be prepared to reimpose sanctions against Tehran, unilaterally if necessary.

As top US diplomat from 2009 to 2013, Clinton played a key role in Obama’s policy toward Iran, which blended toughness with negotiation.

In particular she was at the forefront of the adoption in 2010 of stinging UN economic sanctions against Iran.

Since it was signed on July 14 in Vienna Clinton has expressed her support for the accord but stressed that this was just the beginning of a long process.



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