US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed on Wednesday the top priorities of US diplomacy around the world, saying that Iran wants to be attacked by somebody because it would unify the Iranian public and legitimize the Islamic regime.
However, Clinton clarified in an interview with Charlie Rose and Former Secretary of State James Baker, that the US is “serious that they (Iran) cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.”
In an installment of “Conversations on Diplomacy,” which was moderated by Rose, Clinton made a series of harsh analytical remarks regarding the possibility of nuclear arms development in Tehran.
Baker and Clinton spoke about the necessity of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, noting that containment is not an option, and in the opinion of Baker, any military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities should come from the United States because it is the only country with the ability to stop Iran’s program with force.
“We ought to try every possible avenue we can to see if we can get them to correct their desire and goal of acquiring a nuclear weapon, but we cannot let them acquire that weapon. We are the only country in the world that can stop that,” Baker said.
“The Israelis, in my opinion, do not have the capability of stopping it. They can delay it. There will also be many, many side effects, all of them adverse, from an Israeli strike. But at the end of the day, if we don’t get it done the way the Administration’s working on it now – which I totally agree with – then we ought to take them out, “he added.
Clinton shared Baker’s estimated timeframe regarding a possible attack on a nuclear Iran, saying it could be a year or maybe more. The Secretary of State reiterated that “It’s not only about Iran and about Iran’s intentions. It’s about the arms race that would take place in the region with such unforeseen consequences.”
“You name any country with the means, anywhere near Iran that is an Arab country, if Iran has a nuclear weapon – I can absolutely bet on it and know I will win – they will be in the market within hours. And that is going to create a cascade of difficult challenges for us and for Israel and for all of our friends and partners,” Clinton added.
When asked about the Islamic Republic’s true intentions, Clinton explained that during every meeting with Iran the US tries to “probe and see what kinds of commitments we can get out of them. Now, at this point we don’t have them, so I can’t speak to what they might be if they are ever to be presented. But that’s why we have to take this meeting by meeting and pursue it as hard as we can.”
According to Clinton, “there is a vigorous debate going on within the leadership decision-making group in Iran.”
While some in Iran say that an attack would unify the country and grant it legitimacy, “there are those who say look, these sanctions are really biting, we’re not making the kind of economic progress we should be making, we don’t give up that much by saying we’re not going to do a nuclear weapon and having a verifiable regime to demonstrate that.”
Meanwhile, UN leader Ban Ki-moon and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discussed on Thursday the showdown over Iran’s disputed nuclear programs during the talks on the sidelines of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro.