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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Hillary’s ‘Toughest Sanctions’ on Iran Won’t Work

In Hillary Clinton Unleashed, Iran, Israel, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Move-On, Nuclear Weapons on March 10, 2012 at 8:17 am

Secretary Hillary Clinton took to the air yesterday to boast of the “toughest sanctions” yet imposed by the international community on Iran. Recall, this administration came to office three years ago offering olive branches to the mullahs who rule Iran. President Obama even sent Persian New Year greetings to the same men who held our hostages for 444 days in Tehran in 1979-81. Our American diplomats and Marines were subjected to daily beatings and threats of execution.

These clerics were the ones who invented suicide bombing, starting with the killing of 241 U.S. Marines and Navy corpsmen in Beirut in 1983. If we think they have somehow moderated, how can we explain their latest plot to bomb a Georgetown restaurant to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. With him, possibly, hundreds of Americans could have died.

Secretary Clinton wants to give diplomacy time to work. But three years have already been wasted in merry-go-round diplomacy. These are three years the locusts have eaten. All the while, the mullahs have been building, hiding, advancing their nuclear weapons program.

While some elements of their regime talk about possibly allowing UN inspectors back in, other parts of the same regime say Iran will never give up its nuclear research. Defiantly, they say that research is for peaceful purposes. This, from a regime whose mouthpiece, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, publicly calls Israel “a two-bomb country.” He openly says he can foresee a world without Israel—and without the U.S.

Winston Churchill was surely right that “jaw jaw is better than war war.” Nobody wants a war with Iran. But the Iranian leaders have been at war with us for thirty years. They arm jihadists who have killed American soldiers in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

This administration frittered away its best chance of avoiding war with Iran when it held back from giving support to the pro-democracy demonstrators. These unarmed protesters filled the streets of Tehran after the patently rigged June 2009 elections. Then, we might have seen real regime change in Iran and with it the best hope of a peaceful resolution of the nuclear standoff.

This administration, so closely tied to MoveOn.org, quickly moved on. The blood had hardly dried in the streets of Tehran when the Obama administration was at the UN pushing for another round of sanctions.

Russia and China are not cooperating. Neither is Venezuela. This is the key to the crisis.

authored by: Ken Blackwell and co written by Bob Morrison

http://townhall.com/columnists/kenblackwell/2012/03/10/hillarys_toughest_sanctions_on_iran_wont_work

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Hillary Clinton and the Limits of Power

In Draft Hillary, foreign policy, Global News, Iran, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Smart Power, the Taliban and al Qaeda on October 28, 2011 at 7:56 am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton records interviews for American TV shows in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Oct. 23, 2011.

By Massimo Calabresi | October 27, 2011

Hillary Clinton argues in our cover story this week, now available online to subscribers, that America is not so much in decline as adjusting to a world of increasingly diffuse power, where like-minded networked individuals, non-governmental organizations and other non-traditional global actors may steer events as much as great power capitals. Clinton lays out “smart power” strategies for protecting and advancing U.S. interests in that new non-polar world.


We argue that Clinton is something of an expert at coming up with strategies for maximizing limited power given her life experiences, including being a First Lady with high visibility but little official swat, and a Secretary of State in the administration of her former rival, President Obama, who makes the final call on most major foreign policy and national security decisions with a small group of aides at the White House—and without Clinton.

The story is told largely through the lens of the very limited war in Libya, which is in many ways Clinton’s war, thanks to her efforts lining up the Arab and European coalitions that fought it. We have some good reporting on her trip there last week, as well as on the internal and external challenges she faced in advancing the cause of intervention. We also lay out the ways in which Libya remains dangerously unpredictable, and underscore areas where her new strategies are more talk than action.

Lastly, we polled her against Romney and Perry, and found that she does better, by far, than Obama, leading Romney by 17 points and Perry by 26*. Her closest aides strongly dismiss any 2012 ambitions and say 2016 is very unlikely: she’d be 69 the day of the vote that year. We don’t speculate on the source of her popularity.

One item that came up in research but didn’t fit with the piece. Clinton has been talking about the limits of power from her first moment on the public stage–her rambling, idealistic speech to the graduating class of 1969 at Wellesley. In it, she refers to her favorite passage from T.S. Eliot’s “East Coker” about trying again and again in the face of resistance. It’s not my favorite poem—I like my inter-war humanism without the religious overlay. But it gives a sense of just how long Clinton has been thinking about power and how to leverage it:

…What there is to conquer

By strength and submission, has already been discovered

Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope

To emulate—but there is no competition—

There is only the fight to recover what has been lost

And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions

That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.

For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

*A national poll conducted for TIME on Oct. 9 and 10 found that if Clinton were the Democratic nominee for President in 2012, she would best Mitt Romney 55% to 38%, Rick Perry 58% to 32% and Herman Cain 56% to 34% among likely voters in a general election. The same poll found that President Obama would edge Romney by just 46% to 43%, Perry by 50% to 38% and Cain by 49% to 37% among likely voters.

link

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U.S. plans “virtual embassy” for Iran: Clinton

By Andrew Quinn

WASHINGTON | Wed Oct 26, 2011

(Reuters) – The United States plans to open a “virtual embassy” for Iran that will give Iranians online information about visas and student exchange programs despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.

Clinton, in interviews with the Persian language services of the BBC and Voice of America, defended U.S. sanctions against Iran and said Washington had a strong criminal case linking Tehran to a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

Clinton used both interviews to stress that the United States hoped to broaden contacts with regular Iranians despite tensions with the Tehran government, which she said was being transformed into a military dictatorship.

“My goal in speaking to you today is to clearly communicate to the people of Iran, particularly the very large population of young people, that the United States has no argument with you. We want to support your aspirations.

“We would be thrilled if tomorrow the regime in Iran had a change of mind,” she told the Voice of America.

Clinton said the “virtual embassy” web site would be open by the end of the year and it would provide Iranians with information on visas and other programs.

The United States broke formal diplomatic relations with Tehran in 1980 following the Iran hostage crisis, and ties have remained tense amid disputes over Iran’s nuclear program and U.S. charges that Iran is the most active state sponsor of terrorism around the world.

In his waning months in office, President George W. Bush weighed opening a U.S. Interests Section, which could issue visas, in Tehran, but ultimately decided against it.

Clinton said the United States was providing both technology and training to help Iranians circumvent government limits on the Internet and other forms of communication while seeking to expand sanctions on Tehran.

She acknowledged economic sanctions sometimes caused difficulties for average Iranians, but said they were the best tool to pressure Iran’s leaders.

POWER STRUGGLE?

“We see disturbing trends and actions having to do with the continuing covert effort to build a nuclear weapons program … with a lot of deception, a lot of lying to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the rest of the international community,” Clinton told the BBC.

“We see aggressive behavior toward neighbors in the region, we see efforts to try to hijack and undermine the so-called Arab Spring awakening,” She said. “We do not want a conflict with Iran but we do want to see the rulers of Iran change their outlook and their behavior.”

Clinton said the door remained opened to talks with Tehran on its nuclear program, although she suggested the outlook was complicated by political divisions within the Iranian government itself.

“I believe there’s a power struggle going on inside the regime and they can’t sort out what they really are willing to do until they sort out who’s going to do what,” she said.

Clinton said she was aware that many people around the world were skeptical about U.S. charges this month that Iran was tied to a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador, but said she believed Washington had a strong case.

“I taught criminal law some years ago. It’s a very strong case. It certainly raises the right questions and I think it will be a successful case,” she told the BBC.

Iran has rejected the U.S. accusation as a fabrication designed to sow discord in the oil-rich Gulf.

Clinton said details of the case, in which two Iranians with security links are accused of seeking to kill the Saudi ambassador with help from members of a Mexican drug cartel, reflected a broader pattern of dangerous behavior by the Quds Force, the covert operations arm of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

“I understand people questioning it because it was such a shocking plot. It was shocking to us when we uncovered it,” Clinton told Voice of America.

“They’ve gotten more reckless,” Clinton told the BBC, saying the alleged plot was an attempt by the Quds Force “to thumb their nose at the Americans.”

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“TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel accompanied Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her recent trip to Libya, Oman, Afghanistan and Pakistan. On Oct. 19, in the course of reporting for TIME’s cover story, which is now available online to subscribers, he conducted a wide-ranging interview with her, discussing among other things, the Middle East, China and American exceptionalism. A transcript of most of that conversation follows.

Read more:
http://swampland.time.com/2011/10/27/qa-hillary-clinton-on-libya-china-the-middle-east-and-barack-obama/#ixzz1c5n46wwb

Evidence mounts on Iran’s nuclear momentum…

In Iran, Nuclear Weapons, Obama Fail, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on December 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Long denied access to foreign technology because of sanctions, Iran has nevertheless learned how to make virtually every bolt and switch in a nuclear weapon, according toassessments by U.N. nuclear officials in internal documents, as well as Western and Middle Eastern intelligence analysts and weapons experts.

Iran’s growing technical prowess has been highlighted by a secret memo, leaked to a British newspaper over the weekend, that purportedly shows Iranian scientists conducting tests on a neutron initiator, one of the final technical hurdles in making a nuclear warhead, weapons analysts said Monday.

There was no way to establish the authenticity or original source of the document, which is being assessed by officials at Western intelligence agencies and the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Even so, former intelligence officials and arms-control experts said that if it is a genuine Iranian government document, it is a worrisome indication of an ongoing, clandestine effort to acquire nuclear weapons capability. Iran has steadfastly denied seeking nuclear arms.

The accumulating evidence of Iran’s nuclear momentum emerges as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton conceded Monday that the White House has little to show for nearly a year of diplomatic engagement with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. “I don’t think anyone can doubt that our outreach has produced very little in terms of any kind of a positive response from the Iranians,” Clinton told reporters.

The internal documents and expert analysis point to a growing Iranian mastery of disciplines including uranium metallurgy, heavy-water production and the high-precision explosives used to trigger a nuclear detonation. Although U.S. spy agencies have thought that Iran’s leaders halted research on nuclear warheads in 2003, European and Middle Eastern analysts point to evidence that Iran has continued to hone its skills, as recently as 2007.

“They’re slowly weaning themselves off a reliance on importing critical technologies, in favor of being able to manufacture critical components themselves,” said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a retired CIA officer and former Energy Department intelligence director. “Achieving an indigenous production capacity is right up there with mastering uranium enrichment.”

Iranian scientists must still rely on outsiders for certain components and materials, such as high-strength metals used in making advanced centrifuges and longer-range missiles. But the remaining technical gaps are shrinking, according to an internal memo drafted by top Iran analysts at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Excerpts from the never-published draft were leaked to a nonprofit group in October.

“Iran has sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device,” the memo states.

Iran insists that it opposes nuclear weapons, and points out that the technologies that have raised suspicions in the West have peaceful uses. But Iranian officials do not conceal their pride in their ability to develop advanced technology in spite of U.N. sanctions. Ali Soltanieh, Iran’s representative to the IAEA in Vienna, said in an interview with The Washington Post this fall that as Iranian engineers conquer the nuclear sciences, they will “jump hundreds of meters up in a short time,” pulling even with their counterparts from the West.

“We should thank the Americans for sanctions, because they have united our country,” he said.

The newly leaked Iranian memo, first published by the Times of London, purports to show a four-year plan by Iran to develop and test a neutron initiator of a type that weapons experts say has no known civilian use. The document is neither signed nor dated, but the Times, citing unnamed foreign intelligence officials, said it was written in 2007, four years after U.S. intelligence officials think Iran halted research on nuclear warheads.

The creased, two-page document in Farsi script asserts that Iran’s capabilities in the field of neutron initiators already “are reasonably good.” It calls on scientific teams to build on previous secret research while also maintaining a high degree of security.

more at Pg 2

Clinton Urges Iran to Release Detained Americans

In Americans, Global News, hostages, Human Rights, Iran, Iraq, Madame Secretary Clinton on August 15, 2009 at 11:00 pm

15 August 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran to release all Americans detained in the country, including three hikers arrested last month.

Clinton Saturday called on Iranian authorities to grant consular access to the three hikers, who were detained July 31.

Iranian television has described the three as spies who illegally entered the country.

Clinton said the United States also remains concerned about Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent missing in Iran since 2007. She also called for the release of American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh.

In related news, an American graduate student jailed in Iran for a few weeks and barred from leaving the country for nine months returned this week to Los Angeles. Esha Momeni was arrested last year and charged with acting against national security.

She was researching the Iranian women’s’ rights movement for her master’s thesis at an American university.

Momeni is one of several Iranian-Americans detained in the last year on security-related charges. She says she spent 25 of her 28 days in jail in solitary confinement, and that she was repeatedly interrogated.

Momeni was eventually released on bail, but Iranian authorities confiscated her passports and barred her from leaving the country until this week.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

Clinton ‘Concerned’ About Americans Held in Iran

BAGHDAD, Aug. 3 — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday thatIran Iraq she was “concerned” about three Americans detained in Iran and that the United States had not received any information from Iran about their fate since they crossed into the country from northern Iraq last week.

News reports Tuesday in Iran, meanwhile, said the Americans were under arrest for “illegal entry” and claimed that their case was being used by the U.S. government for propaganda purposes, the Associated Press reported. Iran’s state-controlled media noted that at least two of the Americans are journalists, the wire service said, and questioned reports that the trio were hikers who wandered across the border by mistake.

Officials in northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region said the group was lost and entered Iran while on an excursion in a mountainous area along the border. They also said that border guards had warned them not to proceed because the border in that area is not clearly marked.

“Obviously, we are concerned,” Clinton told reporters at the State Department. “We want this matter brought to a resolution as soon as possible. And we call on the Iranian government to help us determine the whereabouts of the three missing Americans and return them as quickly as possible.”

Clinton said that the Swiss ambassador in Iran, who represents American interests there, is seeking information about the three. Tehran and Washington broke off diplomatic ties in 1979.

Kurdish authorities identified the Americans as Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal. The three had called a friend, Shon Meckfessel, who had stayed in a hotel in Sulaymaniyah, the region’s second-largest city, because he was feeling sick. They told him that Iranian border guards were surrounding them. They have not been heard from since.

Kurdish officials said the Americans told them they were journalists. Shourd has written for Brave New Traveler, an online travel magazine. On the magazine’s Web site, she identifies herself as a “teacher-activist-writer from California currently based in the Middle East.” Bauer, of Minnesota, is a Middle East correspondent for New American Media and has written for other publications, including the Nation magazine.

Bauer’s mother, Cindy Hickey of Pine City, Minn., and Fattal’s mother, Laura Fattal of Elkins Park, Pa., both said in brief statements that they were concerned about the group’s welfare and safety.

The Kurdish government said that it would soon meet for a second time with Iranian representatives to discuss the fate of the Americans and to seek their release.

Clinton’s statement Monday came after the head of the Iranian parliament’s foreign policy committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, confirmed the arrest of the Americans on Sunday, according to Iranian television.

Iran’s Arabic-language network said in a news bulletin Monday, quoting Iraqi police sources, that the Americans were “CIA agents.” The Iranian government, however, did not immediately endorse that claim.
Link

Clinton to raise her profile with speech next week

In foreign policy, Global News, healing, India, Iran, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Politics, Russia, United States on July 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm

ClintonSling

Although the speech will address many foreign-policy issues, it is also meant to raise Clinton’s profile and prove that she is loyal to President Obama, her rival during last year’s Democratic primary. Clinton has a tricky balancing act: She must be loyal to Obama’s vision while also making the secretary-of-state job her own and giving it her own personal touch.

from Rozen’s article:

•** Hillary’s hard cast has been removed, and she’s in physical therapy six days a week for the next six to eight weeks. (It really must have been quite a fall. I’m assuming she is fortunate enough to have health insurance that covers all those sessions.)

•** White House aides have nixed plans to hire Sidney Blumenthal — a longtime advisor to Bill Clinton — as a State Department consultant and speechwriter. Secretary Clinton had sought to hire him to raise her profile.

Clinton, Nursing Injured Elbow, Hails Foreign Policy Progress at Six-Month Mark

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently has been absent on the world stage due in large part to her broken elbow. But she says the administration is making strides in foreign policy…

The broken elbow that has kept Secretary of State Hillary Clinton off the world stage for several weeks did not prevent her from addressing her department employees and interns Friday, as she began to mark her first six months on the job.

Clinton has not been accompanying the president on trips out of the country nearly as much as her predecessors did. When President Obama returns this weekend from his current trip to Russia, Italy and Ghana, he will have visited a total of nine countries without his secretary of state in their less than six months in office.

But aides dismiss suggestions that Obama and Clinton are growing apart. Indeed, on Friday Clinton hailed the foreign policy progress she and the president have made, saying the administration is patching up “strained alliances” and striving to influence “adversaries” to change their behavior. Making sure to throw in a couple cracks about her injury, Clinton forecast tough challenges ahead but said the administration is making strides.

“We’ve been on this job for almost half a year. We’ve been working hard and some of us have the scars to prove it,” Clinton, her arm still in a sling, said to laughter. “I have not been throwing sharp elbows,” she joked. “We are seeing encouraging results from all of our efforts, including my physical therapy.”

The secretary of state plans to make what is being called a major policy speech next week at the Council on Foreign Relations to mark, more officially, her first six months in office. She seemed to give a preview Friday, crediting the administration with making strides toward restoring ties with countries around the world.

“We are repairing strained alliances. We’re cultivating new partnerships. We’re working to engage and change the behavior of adversaries. And we are prioritizing development along with diplomacy as part of our global agenda,” she said.

The administration is grappling with a host of international challenges, not all of which look any closer to being resolved. Speaking from Italy, Obama on Friday continued to condemn the Iranian crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators in the wake of the country’s disputed elections. The breakdown in the wake of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election has imperiled U.S. hopes of restoring ties with the Islamic regime. North Korea also continues to defy international warnings by conducting repeated missile tests.

And the administration was recently caught in a difficult spot, having to stick up for leftist Honduran President Manuel Zelaya after he was ousted from office.

But Obama seemed to make some progress toward resetting relations with Russia during his talks this week with President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow.

Clinton did not go on that trip, but officials said she would have, if not for her broken elbow. It’s unclear whether Clinton will accompany the globe-trotting Obama more in the latter half of the year. Clinton has met up with Obama in Europe, Trinidad and Tobago and Egypt this year, but the president has gone without her to a slew of countries.

Like her predecessors, Clinton has kept a vigorous international schedule of her own. She’s visited Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Central America, as well as Canada and Mexico, on her own time. Clinton plans to head to India on a separate trip next week, after her policy address.

Clinton said Friday that the Obama administration is facing very high expectations on the world stage. “It may not be fair, but that’s kind of the way it is,” she said, noting that foreign leaders have made “very aggressive demands on our country.”

Clinton took a shot at former President George W. Bush, saying at least one foreign leader told her that the reason they didn’t make such demands over the last eight years was because, “We knew we would never get a response.” Clinton added: “We don’t have the luxury of being bystanders.” Clinton said that the department has had to work “overtime” to deal with what she called an “unprecedented set of challenges” on the world stage. “We don’t have the luxury of deciding which issues to deal with,” she said. “We need to work better, work smarter and work together with more partners in and beyond our government.”

Clinton also announced she would be instituting a new review process within the State Department to assess the agency’s needs and progress every four years.
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