Clinton: US will use ‘all its power’ to prevent nuclear Iran

Secretary of state says diplomacy going nowhere, but Tehran still has time to make the right choice; calls on Israel and PA to break status quo

Joshua Davidovich is The Times of Israel's Deputy Editor

Hillary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu, July. (photo credit: Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool/Flash90)
Hillary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu, July. (photo credit: Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool/Flash90)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped up her visit to Israel Monday night, saying the US would do everything in its power to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Clinton spoke after meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Clinton told reporters she “compared notes” on Iran with Netanyahu and that pressure on Tehran would continue to ramp up.

“Iran’s leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision,” she told reporters, adding “we will use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

The secretary of state added that she did not see Tehran making any move toward coming to an agreement with the international community over its nuclear program.

“The proposals we have seen thus far are nonstarters,” she said. “Despite three rounds of talks, Iran has yet to make a strategic decision to address the international community’s concerns. So we are pressing forward in close consultation with Israel. I think its absolutely fair to say we are on the same page trying to figure our way forward to have the maximum impact.”

Clinton also said Israel could not allow the status quo between it and the Palestinians to continue, calling it “unsustainable.”

“The proof is in the security threats Israel faces,” she said.

Clinton reportedly told Netanyahu that Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas were the best options for peace and he shouldn’t wait to see who comes next.

According to Ynet, Clinton also pressured Israeli leaders to offer small arms transfers to the PA and release prisoners as a way to jump start peace talks.

Clinton told reporters that moves for peace had to be made now.

“To those who say the other side needs to move first, I say: peace won’t wait,” she said. “The responsibility falls on all of us to keep pressing forward. We’ll keep pushing our friends to do what they can to move the agenda forward. We will do everything possible to try to see this vision of peace realized.”

Speaking to Netanyahu earlier, Clinton urged him to work to repair ties with Turkey, which have drooped since 2010.

Clinton is in Israel for two days wrapping up a swing across Asia.

Before coming to Israel, she spent two days in Egypt, meeting with new president Mohammed Morsi and military head, Hussein Tantawi.

She said she told the two that she expected Egypt to uphold its agreements, including its peace treaty with Israel, which she called a “backbone of regional peace and stability.”

Aside from Netanyahu and Fayyad, Clinton met Monday with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minisyter Avigdor Liberman, and President Shimon Peres.

In her meeting with Barak, the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program topped the agenda. ”The Americans consistently and constantly backup Israel’s security needs,” Barak said before the meeting.

“We see eye to eye on many issues. On some topics we have certain differences, but these differences are put into perspective in view of the enormous importance of the US in the region, as well as the unique status and sensitiveness of Israel in the region,” he added.

Earlier in the day Clinton met with Peres, stressing the need for cooperation in tumultuous times.

“I always benefit from your advice,” Clinton told her host during their meeting at the President’s Residence. “This is a time of uncertainty, but also opportunity. It is at times like this that friends such as us need to think together, to act together. We have a calling to be wise, creative, and brave, and no one understands that better than President Shimon Peres.”

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