The United States will use “all elements of American power” to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said late on Monday at a press conference in Jerusalem.
“We will use all elements of American power to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon,” she said in reference to Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, which Washington and much of the West believes is a cover for a weapons drive.
Her remarks, which carried an implied threat of military action -- a course of action never ruled out by Washington -- came just days after the United States imposed a wave of fresh sanctions on Iran targeting companies tied to Tehran's procurement, petroleum, and shipping networks.
And she accused the Islamic Republic of presenting unworkable proposals in its talks with the P5+1 world powers.
“I made very clear that the proposals we have seen thus far from Iran within the P5+1 negotiations are non-starters,” she said of the latest round of talks, which took place in Istanbul earlier this month.
“Despite three rounds of talks it appears that Iran has yet to make the strategic decision to address the international community's concerns and fulfill its obligations.”
Following a day of top-level talks with the Israeli leadership over a range of regional issues, Clinton said the Obama administration was “in close consultation with Israel” over ways to increase the pressure on Tehran.
“We talked about concrete steps that we can take to continue to build the pressure,” she said.
U.S., Israel on the same page
“We are pressing forward in close consultation with Israel.... And I think it is fair to say we are on the same page at this moment, trying to figure our way forward to have the maximum impact on effecting the decisions that Iran
Because of U.S. efforts to rally the international community to tackle the Iranian nuclear threat, Tehran was “under greater pressure than ever before. That pressure will continue and increase,” she said.
“We all prefer a diplomatic resolution and Iran’s leaders have the opportunity to make the right decision. The choice is ultimately Iran’s,” she added.
Clinton met President Shimon Peres for about an hour as part of what is perhaps her final visit to Israel as secretary of state, bringing a message of solidarity to the Jewish state after three and a half years of only stunted progress toward a Palestinian peace deal.
After their visit, they each issued a statement to reporters without taking questions. Peres spoke about the importance of maintaining Israel’s three-decade peace with Egypt, and decried the violence in neighboring Syria.
He also voiced support for the Obama administration’s pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear activities - which has sometimes been a point of contention between the U.S and Israel.
Clinton said she spoke with Peres about “Egypt and Syria, peace efforts, Iran and other regional and global issues.”
She later met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
She returns to Washington early Tuesday, ending a 12-day, nine-country trip that included stops in Europe and Asia.
Clinton hasn’t visited Israel since September 2010. With little to show for U.S. efforts on a two-state peace agreement and a hectic schedule before she steps down as secretary of state next year, it is unlikely she’ll return. Clinton has said she would leave the post, even if Obama wins a second term.
The flurry of visits by top U.S. officials to Israel could reflect an administration attempt to shore up Obama’s support among Jewish voters as the election nears. The president has pushed back forcefully against Republican claims that he is weak in defending Israel’s security, and GOP candidate Mitt Romney is planning to visit Israel later this month.