October 13th, 2009
12:54 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton: U.S., Russia agree to work together on Iran

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/13/art.clinton.russia.gi.jpg caption="Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov agree to work together on Iran."]
MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed Tuesday that Washington and Moscow are working together to make sure Iran's controversial nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, but Russia has stopped short of committing to Iran sanctions.

Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking to reporters after a closed-door meeting, indicated that there has been no agreement between the countries on any sort of sanctions plan, even though Russia is not opposed to sanctions in principle.

The United States is using a two-track approach, pursuing diplomacy with Iran and going on to stronger measures - such as sanctions - if that fails.

"We are aware that we might not be as successful as we need to be. So we have always looked at the potential of sanctions in the event that we are not successful, that we cannot assure ourselves and other that Iran has decided not to pursue nuclear weapons," Clinton said.

Clinton quoted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recent comment that sanctions might be "inevitable" but not at this stage. While the Obama administration has been cautiously optimistic about the "inevitable" comment, Russia has long believed that sanctions are not yet necessary, even though they may be a factor to consider down the road.

Lavrov said that sometimes sanctions theoretically need to be imposed when all diplomatic efforts are exhausted - but not in the case of Iran.

"Threats, sanctions and threats of pressure in the current situation, we are convinced, would be counterproductive," he said.

World powers have long been concerned that Iran wants to build a nuclear weapon, and those suspicions were heightened by the discovery of a secret uranium enrichment plant near Qom. However, Iran has consistently said it is developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

"Iran's nuclear program remains a matter of serious concern. We're closely with Russia through the P5 and 1 process," Clinton said, referring to the diplomacy with Iran conducted by Germany and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia.

"We are working to ensure that Iran moves forward with us on this engagement track," said Clinton - who said Iran must show without any doubt that it is pursuing unequivocally only a peaceful use of nuclear power.

Clinton also met with Medvedev at his residence outside Moscow. Other items were on Clinton's agenda: Afghanistan, arms control, and the new U.S.-Russia bilateral presidential commission.

Clinton spoke about surmounting historical difficulties in U.S.-Russian relations, changing a relationship "once defined by the shadow of
mutually-assured destruction into that is based on mutual respect and over time increasingly mutual trust."

"We are different countries, we have different historical experiences, different perspectives," she said. "But we are planting those disagreements in a much broader field of cooperation, and hopefully we are enriching the earth in which this cooperation can take root."

CNN's Jill Dougherty contributed to this report

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iran • Russia
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. demwit

    Can you say.., Over Charge!!

    October 13, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. mjm

    "Russia has stopped short of committing to Iran sanctions"

    "Threats, sanctions and threats of pressure in the current situation, we are convinced, would be counterproductive," he said.

    Tell me again why we gave un the Missle Shield in Europe? Seems like we're bending over backward and Russia is doing...what?

    "...once defined by the shadow of mutually-assured destruction.."

    Now it's just our destruction. Go team Obama Go! Maybe they can all get a peace prize!

    October 13, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. David

    Uh-oh, this is going to turn out badly.

    October 13, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Celebrating Early

    Dear me...did we "celebrate" an agreement for sanctions on Iran with our "friend" Russia a little too early? Did we give up the missile shield a little too easily? Would seem so.

    Did we really believe Russia would "agree" with us on possible santions but not commit to those sanctions and continue to sell arms to Iran anyway? Only those who act "stupidly" would believe believe otherwise.

    Did we get duped by Russia...think so don't you!

    October 13, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Andrew

    I'm liking this two track approach. Much better than labeling countries as evil and jumping straight to sanctions or even worse war. Sometimes I really wonder why Bush didn't receive the Nobel... lol can't even keep a straight face.

    October 13, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Paul

    Russians are stalling, Iran is lying, and what do you know, Hillary is buying it. But then, what can you expect?

    October 13, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Republicans Hate America

    See how much gets accomplished when smart people are in charge? The GOP are pathetic. Plain and simple.

    October 13, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Debbie

    I trust Russia about as much as I trust a multicolored irregular shaped mole the size of a quarter not to be melanoma.

    October 13, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. Jane/Seattle

    While I disagree that Hillary Clinton (or any Clinton) needed to be elevated to this postion, I do think some of these attacks on her are quite petty. It is always a good development when we can USE OUR WORDS (Can you hear us little children?) to discuss differences as Adults in charge. WERE We to EVER COME to Realize that our needs are all the same, then we could get to real solutions. IF The Capitalists who sell DEATH were to find their inner spirits of Love, then this Planet could Divest of Tobacco, WMD's, and all the rest of the Profitable Life-Destroyers! We might STOP cutting down the trees as Big Timber wants to continue and invest in a sustainable relationship with HEMP-the Abundant, Strong, Renewable source for clothing and paper. But right now it is just gonna be these Armed Bullies ganging up on little Iran as FEAR is STILL Ruling the DAY what with Business and Political Concerns in Charge and Still Playing King of the Hill! J :o)

    October 13, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Liz T., Tucson

    This initiative is very good news. This is exactly why we voted for President Obama.

    October 13, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. Jose D.

    "However, Iran has consistently said it is developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes." Iran has been using this excuse for decades, since the Carter adminsitration. For decades Iran an has escaped the constraints from the West with regards to its drive to creat nuclear war heads. tIran has escaped Albright, Rice and now they will out-fox Clinton and her weak approach. I suggest that folks read "The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West " By Dore Gold. This is a very informative book written by a NY Times Best Selling author.

    October 13, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. RH

    The Russians are only marginally more trustworthy than the Iranians. Russia will ride the fence and stall endlessly. Obama, don't let the dream of Russian and/or Chinese cooperation lure us past the point of no return vis a vis Iran.

    October 13, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. Nini

    No they didn't, Russia plays and we lose.

    How many times do we need to test Russia and end of with the same result to realize they play with us.

    My god it is driving me crazy that we are so weak, in less than 10 months into Obama’s administration. Our foreign policy is concentrated in one word Apeasment.

    October 13, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. Dave

    Thought that when President Obama pulled the missle defense shield project out of Poland that Russia would agree with sanctions on Iran to help rein in Iran's nuclear program? Guess HOPE is not all it's cracked up to be when dealing with International issues.

    October 13, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. franco

    Sure, and we are going to trust the Russians??

    October 13, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Mark

    Russia already said NO to sanctions after Obama pulled the missile defense tactic without any agreements.

    More proof that Clinton foreign policy doesn't work either.

    October 13, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Was this not always the case? Is it just another one of those lip service jobs? Is this the payback for the Obama administration leaving Europe defenseless?

    October 13, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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