October 25th, 2007
03:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Clinton, Obama react to Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama offered qualified support for the Bush administration’s new sanctions against Iran Thursday, even as their differences over the issue loomed larger on the campaign trail this week.

Clinton offered support for the administration’s tougher sanctions, saying in a statement “We must use all the tools at our disposal to address the serious challenge posed by Iran, including diplomacy, economic pressure, and sanctions."

“I believe that a policy of diplomacy backed by economic pressure is the best way to check Iran’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons program and stop its support of terrorism, and the best way to avert a war," she added. "We must work to check Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its support of terrorism, and the sanctions announced today strengthen America's diplomatic hand in that regard.” (Related: Dodd, Edwards blast Iran sanctions, criticize Clinton)

But she said a stronger effort to work out a diplomatic solution was needed along with the sanctions.

“The Bush Administration should use this opportunity to finally engage in robust diplomacy to achieve our objective of ending Iran's nuclear weapons program, while also averting military action. That is the policy I support," she said.

Meanwhile Obama in a statement backed sanctions, but repeated his caution against linking Iran with the situation in Iraq.

“It is important to have tough sanctions on Iran, particularly on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard which supports terrorism. But these sanctions must not be linked to any attempt to keep our troops in Iraq, or to take military action against Iran," he said.

The Illinois senator also made what seemed a veiled reference to Clinton’s vote in favor of an amendment declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, saying amendment “made the case for President Bush that we need to use our military presence in Iraq to counter Iran - a case that has nothing to do with sanctioning the Revolutionary Guard."

Obama’s presidential campaign sent a mailing to Iowa voters this week saying Clinton’s vote “raises the risk of war with Iran.” The Illinois senator was not present for the vote, but has said he is against the idea.

But Clinton in her statement defended her position, saying, “I took to the Senate floor last February and warned the president not to take military action against Iran without going to Congress first and that's why I’ve co-sponsored Sen. (Jim) Webb’s legislation to make that the law of the land."

- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Iran
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Lance in Monrovia CA

    We are facing the most crucial presidential election of our lives, one where literally the fate of the planet may hang in the balance.

    Hilary Clinton has distinguished herself both on her vote to go to war in Iraq, as well as her vote last week to give Bush authority to attack Iran's 170,000 strong Republican Guard.

    Obama has also distinguished himself on this issue. He spoke out against Iraq war in 2002 when it was political suicide to do so, and he spoke out against the Senate Resolution to give Bush authority to attack Iran last week.

    Can there be a bigger difference between two choices for President?

    Hilary repeats Bush's rhetoric and soundbites, while Obama sticks to his guns consistantly and truly.

    Who really reflects real change and a better direction for America.

    For me, the answer is truly in the following video link. It's probably the fiercest, simplest stated and most compelling comment I've ever seen about why we should be worried about another dynasty in the White House.

    It's funny, tasteful, and two minutes of your day. Here's the link; http://youtube.com/watch?v=5c0eLVYbnI4

    October 25, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Karen,nj

    We must not go to war with Iran. That will be the end of the world. No one will live through this. Who do we think we are to tell every one what to do. Who put us in charge of the world. Bush just wants an excuse to fight with Iran, he still wants the oil. He has the world disqusted with us and Russia will get us. The Democrats must stop this madman before it is to late. He will go to war before he is out of office. All those Republicans in the white house are evil, greedy and destructive people who do not care about the common people!

    October 25, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. Kim, Peabody MA

    Hmm... These are the same two people who want to negotiate with our ENEMIES?

    Read these Great Articles by Pete Grasso.

    "Why are we negotiating with the enemy?" http://www.grassoforpresident.com/site/Viewer.aspx?iid=11168&mname=Article&rpid=3861


    "Putting our Troops at RISK"

    October 25, 2007 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  4. Debra

    Please don't try to blurr the distinctions between these two candidates on this issue.

    Hillary Clinton is for war with Iran as she voted for the resolution designating Iran Revolutionary Guard terrorist , Obama is not for war with Iran. He opposed the Resolution and avocates effective diplomacy.

    Secondly, Clinton is strongly behind the Bush Administration on this sanctions which is completely foolish because it doesnot accomplish anything. That is Oldschool diplomacy.
    Obama, on the other hand believes more dialogue should have taken place between Iran and US before the sanctions. He also believes that the Iran Revolutional guard is hampering our chances in Iraq but talking with one another could solve this problem.

    There is a big difference between the two candidates on this issue so don't blurr the lines because you want to deceive the american people. Shame on you CNN. Stop pushing Hillary Clinton as the nominee.

    October 25, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  5. Sarah

    Jim Webb's legislation did not have a co-sponsor for 7 months. As soon as there was public outcry over Hillary's vote, she jumped to co-sponsor Webb.

    Rather than call Webb and let him know that she would co-sponsor, her campaign issued a press release.

    Hillary made a bad decision to support Lieberman-Kyl, and now we are moving toward military action with Iran.

    She just doesn't get it.

    October 25, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  6. james,ks,mo

    Obama, clinton reacts to Iran sanctions, how about that cnn?

    October 25, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. Paul C. Palmetto Bay, FL

    It would seem that the Washington commandos are in full swing to justify a war with Iran.
    Someone tell them that we will need a draft.

    October 25, 2007 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. Daniel, NY

    Given that Obama cosponsored a very similar amendment than Kyl-Lieberman in April, this all sounds kind of hypocritical to me.

    October 25, 2007 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  9. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Sen. Obama opposed the Iraq War Resolution. Good for him; of course, he wasn't in the Senate at the time.

    As Senator, he fled the Kyl-Lieberman vote to campaign in New Hampshire. Afterwards, he called the Resolution, which does not authorize or even urge the use of force against Iran in Iran, a "blank check" for the President to wage an Iranian War.

    When he had to put this "blank check" language in writing, he quickly downgraded the Kyl-Lieberman threat to one that raises the "risk of war." Much lamer.

    Then, Senator Clinton pointed out that he was one of the co-sponsors of S.970, which would, if passed, designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist "organization," similar to Kyl-Lieberman.

    Sen. Obama responded that what he really objected to was not designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. (How could we so mistake the man?) No, what he really didn't like about Kyl-Lieberman was that it advocated using U.S. forces to combat Iran in IRAQ.

    So THEN Sen. Clinton was forced to disinter this excerpt from a speech Sen. Obama gave last year, saying:

    "Such a reduced but active presence [the smaller U.S. troop size in Iraq Sen. Obama was proposing] will also send a clear message to hostile countries like Iran and Syria that we intend to remain a key player in this region."

    Later in the same speech, Sen. Obama added:

    "Make no mistake, if the Iranians and Syrians think they can use Iraq as another Afghanistan or a staging area from which to attack Israel or other countries, they are badly mistaken. It is in our national interest to prevent this from happening."

    How would he prevent Iranians from doing anything they pleased in Iraq, except through the combat use of the reduced but active troop presence he advocates in the speech?

    Taken together, H.R. 1400 and this speech represent almost the identical position espoused in Kyl-Lieberman. But with respect to the many different stories Sen. Obama has told about the basis of his opposition to Kyl-Lieberman, it's difficult to tell what his position is, much find a clear difference between his stance and Sen. Clinton's.

    October 26, 2007 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  10. Ann ME

    Easy, easy girl, whoa there. Don't get excited and break a leg now.

    October 27, 2007 02:33 am at 2:33 am |

    the bush administration and especially george w bush are stupid. they attacked the wrong country. afghanistan was the right country to attack but iraq is a farce. saddam was in a box with nowhere to go and posed no seriuos threat. saddam wanted absolute power in iraq and shunned or killed terrorists in his country. there were no wmd's and george w bush used deceit to get his way. now we're in another quagmire like vietnam and can't get out. the real threat is iran and the bush administration has no diplomacy skills at all. it takes a true diplomat to avert war and resolve matters. any idiot can start one. condoleezza rice couldn't negotiate a peace treaty with the amish and all george w bush knows how to do is call names (axis of evil), threaten (currently building 30,000lb bomb) anger other countries (russia and the missle defense shield in europe) and the chinese. if you think we have problems now, wait till the japanese, chinese and indian bill collectors start calling the white house.

    October 27, 2007 08:10 am at 8:10 am |