compiled by Cem Ertür
23 April, 2009
US Foreign Minister Hillary Clinton: “Our engagement [with Iran] puts us on much stronger international footing”
New Beginnings: Foreign Policy Priorities in the Obama Administration
by Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Foreign Minister
Opening Remarks Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Washington, DC, 22 April 2009
|We’re deploying new approaches to the threat posed by Iran. And we’re doing so with our eyes wide open and with no illusions. We know the imperative of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. After years during which the United States basically sat on the sidelines, we are now a full partner in the P-5 plus one talks.
We have concluded that it is going to be a more successful engagement, if our partners around the world understand that they must work with us and support our efforts, including tougher sanctions.
And I’ve had a number of conversations over the course of the last 90- plus days with allies, partners and other nations concerned about Iran’s continuing ambitions for nuclear weapons. I think there are three points I would make, Mr. Chairman.
One, the fact that we are engaging, that we have fully participated in the P-5-plus-one process, actually gives us more leverage with other nations.
Number two, I think the fact that we have been wiling to go even beyond the P-5 plus one and to reach out to Iran, to invite them, as I did, to the conference in The Hague on Afghanistan, increases even further our ability to ask more from other nations.
And finally, I think our engagement — which we have no illusions about, as I mentioned to you — puts us on much stronger international footing.
So I want to assure you that we will be operating on dual tracks. Yes, we are more than willing to reach out to the Iranians to discuss a range of issues, assuming they’re willing to reach back. […]
But we are also laying the groundwork for the kind of very tough — I think you said crippling — sanctions that might be necessary in the event that our offers are either rejected or the process is inconclusive or unsuccessful.
We actually believe that by following the diplomatic path we are on, we gain credibility and influence with a number of nations who would have to participate in order to make the sanctions regime as tight and crippling as we would want it to be.
Note: A fraction of this transcript is available at the U.S. Department of State website: