Clinton Says Sanctions on Iran Are Working (WSJ) WALL STREET JOURNAL) By JOSHUA MITNICK JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 07/17/12)
WALL STREET JOURNAL
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JERUSALEM—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought on Monday to
reassure Israel that U.S. efforts to block Iran´s nuclear ambitions
are working, but said the Obama administration´s strategy of
diplomacy and economic sanctions needs more time to play out.
After a day of meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and
other Israeli leaders, Mrs. Clinton told reporters that recently
imposed economic sanctions are putting unprecedented pressure on
Tehran. She acknowledged that Iran has responded with "nonstarters"
to several rounds of negotiations with international powers and that
Iranian leaders hadn´t made a "strategic decision" to engage in
talks. She said Israel and the U.S. are in close coordination on Iran.
"Our two-track policy of diplomacy and pressure is in full move
here," she said following a dinner meeting at Mr. Netanyahu´s
official residence in Jerusalem. "I´m not going to prejudge the
outcome of these efforts. I think that its absolutely fair to say
[the U.S. and Israel] 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."
Her meetings with Israeli officials were part of a recent effort by
the Obama administration—which sent National Security Adviser Tom
Donilon here last week and will dispatch Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta later this month—to keep in close coordination with Israel.
The stalling of the so-called P5+1 talks with Iran, which include the
U.S., the U.K., France, China, Russia and Germany, has kicked up
speculation that Israel may decide to make a pre-emptive strike on
Iran in the coming months—a move that would risk a regional war and a
spike in oil prices amid an American election campaign.
Mr. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have warned repeatedly
that Iran is using the talks as a tactic to buy time before it can
build a nuclear weapon, and they have said Israel believes time is
running out before military action is required.
Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
Israeli officials said the American visits have focused on reassuring
Mr. Netanyahu´s government that President Barack Obama is committed
to denying Iran nuclear-weapons capability. "The message has been:
We´re going to handle this," said an Israeli official briefed on Mrs.
Mrs. Clinton met with Mr. Barak, Israeli President Shimon Peres, and
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. She also met in Jerusalem with
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Israeli officials said they were especially eager to hear Mrs.
Clinton´s impressions of Egypt following her weekend visit there.
Israel is worried about the fate of its ties with Egypt, and by past
comments from Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi about revisiting the
33-year-old Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
Over the weekend, she urged Egypt´s military and its Islamist-
dominated political leadership to seek cooperation rather than
confrontation. Mrs. Clinton said she asked Cairo to do its utmost to
preserve its peace treaty with Israel.
Mrs. Clinton told reporters in Jerusalem that the Egyptian political
system is a "work in progress" and the economic, social and political
challenges would be "daunting for the most experienced political
Asked to comment on protesters who threw tomatoes at her motorcade,
she said she wasn´t offended and that it reflected increasing freedom
of expression in the country. She added, however, that it also
indicated anxiety among Egyptians about what "may or may not be
happening" regarding a new Parliament and a new government.
"The sooner there can be a government that takes responsibility whose
actions can be judged and held accountable, then people will be able
to draw decisions, because words don´t mean as much as actions," she
said. "So therefore I was not offended. I was relieved that nobody
was hurt and I felt bad that tomatoes were wasted." —Jay Solomon
contributed to this article. (Copyright © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
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