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Clinton Joins Obama in Opposing New Iran Sanctions

Give diplomacy a chance to work, says former Secretary of State in letter to Democratic Senator Carl Levin.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/3/2014, 6:12 AM

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Reuters

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed support for President Barack Obama’s objection to imposing new sanctions on Iran, Reuters reports.

Clinton has reportedly urged Congress to resist imposing new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, saying that "this is the time" to give diplomacy a chance to work.

Clinton, who leads the pack among potential Democratic presidential contenders for 2016, said in a January 26 letter to Democratic Senator Carl Levin, "Now that serious negotiations are finally under way, we should do everything we can to test whether they can advance a permanent solution."

Her comments came after Levin wrote to her about the sanctions issue. Levin released her letter on Sunday.

A new sanctions bill has been gaining momentum in recent weeks and, 59 of the 100 U.S. senators, including 16 of Obama's fellow Democrats, signed on as co-sponsors to it. The bill that would impose new restrictions on Iran if talks on a permanent deal falter.

Obama, who has waged an aggressive campaign to convince lawmakers to postpone passing new sanctions on Iran, has declared that he will veto any new sanctions and repeated this threat during his State of the Union speech last week.

Noting she was a longtime supporter of previous sanctions against Iran, Clinton told Levin, according to Reuters, that she shared his position that those measures "and the carefully constructed global consensus behind them are responsible for driving Tehran to the negotiating table."

She said that like Obama, she had no illusions about the ease or likelihood of reaching a permanent deal with Iran, "yet I have no doubt that this is the time to give our diplomacy the space to work.

"If it does not, there will be time to put in place additional sanctions in the future, with greater international support necessary to ensure enforcement, and to explore every other option on the table," she wrote.

The interim deal clinched between Iran and the six world powers went into effect last week, and on Saturday, Iran received the first installment of $4.2 billion in frozen assets.

Nevertheless, its leaders have continued to threaten Israel and the West and have declared that Iran will never give up on its nuclear program or on its right to enrich uranium.