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Hillary Clinton: U.S.-Israel Relationship “Essential” in Combating Iran’s Regional Ambitions

In addition to her reported remarks about taking the U.S.-Israel relationship “to the next level,” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday called for a “strengthened” relationship between the two countries based on their common interest in fighting Iranian aggression.

According to a transcript (.pdf) provided by the Brookings Institution, which hosted the Saban Forum where Clinton delivered her keynote address, the former diplomat and current presidential aspirant said the alliance was “essential” in fighting “Iran’s increasing aggressive regional ambitions. Tehran’s fingerprints are on nearly every conflict across the Middle East.”

She then went into detail about the scope of that threat:

Iran supports bad actors from Syria to Lebanon to Yemen and beyond. The Iranian revolutionary guard and its proxies are attempting to establish a beach head on the Golan from which to threaten Israel. In Southern Lebanon Hezbollah is amassing an arsenal of rockets and artillery and the Ayatollah’s continued to threaten Israel’s destruction at every opportunity.

After emphasizing the importance of the U.S.-Israel alliance in countering Iran, Clinton mentioned the necessity of enforcing the Islamic Republic’s compliance with the nuclear deal, characterizing it as part of a “larger effort” to oppose Iran’s regional ambitions. She also stressed that efforts to enforce the terms of the agreement within the coming months “will set the tone for years to come.”

So we have to get it right. Our message to Iran must be unequivocal. There will be consequences for even small violations and we are ready to snap back sanctions into place. Our approach must be distrust and verify. There can be no doubt in Tehran that if we see any indication that Iran’s leaders are violating their commitments in the deal not to seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons we will stop them and we will make sure the Iranians and the world understand that the United States will act decisively if necessary including taking military action.

And we should also hold Iran and the revolutionary guard corp accountable for their sponsorship of terrorism, ballistic missile development, human rights violations, detention of Americans and other illicit behavior like cybercrime.

Clinton cautioned that “Iran will test our resolve,” pointing to the Islamic Republic’s recent test of ballistic missiles and other actions she termed “provocative.” The response to such activity, Clinton said, must include “further sanction designations as necessary.”

The section of the speech cited above is embedded below.

[Photo: Brookings Institution / YouTube ]