October 13th, 2009
12:54 PM ET
12 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. Angus McDugan

    Wow... Obama actually let Hillary meet with a top tier country. Must be a PR stunt by Obama.

    October 13, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Jerry

    No fooling, Sanctions only mean we are going to sell war supplies to Russia so they can sell to Iran?

    October 13, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Good job Secretary Clinton. I hear all the gripes about the President not deserving the Nobel, but if we are able to halt Iran from producing nuclear weapons, the prize is well deserved. Also, Russia imposing sanctions on Iran is a big deal. So any sanctions we to impose, they will have teeth.

    October 13, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. Peter s

    Keep up the good job Hillary! 2016 is not very far!!

    October 13, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Farrell in Houston

    Hillary, please tread carefully when dealing with Russia until it is clear whose their real leader.

    October 13, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Burns NH

    So. in reality hillary should have received the nobel medal. She does
    the hard work and Ego dude gets the credit. He desperatlly needs
    a daily injection to his ego to keep it happy.

    October 13, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Enlightened

    Hillary Clinton is the Secretary of State and such dealings fall within her portfolio. Whenever the President takes on an assignment which seems to be outside of his domain, people complain, when his appointees do the job, they still complain. If Hillary is not supposed to fulfill her mandate, then what is her role?

    October 13, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Obama Victim

    has Obozo delegated Hill to do the apologizing and surrendering now......well...at least it is steady work

    October 13, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    At least Hillary is doing something more than showing up on Letterman and playing basketball

    October 13, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Jake

    I sincerely hope she re-considers running again for President. The world needs another power player like her! Keep up the good work Hillary!

    October 13, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Jay T.

    Nice work, Secretary Clinton. Bush would have tried to act tough and ended up looking and sounding like my drunk uncle at a family picnic when he loses at horseshoes.

    October 13, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Wise Latina

    Uh, not quite. A more accurate headline is that Clinton sides with Russia that sanctions are NOT on the table and to allow Iran to continue to go down its same path towards nuclear proliferation.

    Time to "reset" this dangerously inept and morally bankrupt Dem government.

    October 13, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  13. Who is Rush Limbaugh...really...?

    Throughout human history there were characters eager to emerge on
    the world stage, however most lacked the peronality, ability and other
    traits. R.L. being one of the Lacking, not exactly handsome, charming
    nor able to deliver ELECTRIFYING SPEECHES...instead he invented
    himself by being socially and politically highly CONTROVERSIAL and
    successful in the process. The media and the world took notice.

    Rush Limbaugh reminds us of the mighty Wizard of Oz who in the end
    appeared behind the curtain a little meek man...R.L. empodies this
    character...in other words "HARMLESS"


    October 13, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. give territories health care parity

    Are we law-abiding, draft eligible US citizens living in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam written into this bill?

    October 13, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Victim of Liberal stupidity

    Russia is going to do NOTHING to assist the US in derailing Iran's nuclear aspirations. Do you not think that the Russians gain everything by standing by and watching America decompose from the inside out? This was their goal from the cold war in the sixties... They have vast untapped oil and mineral reserves, massive agricultural capabilities and they have the world's largest standing boreal forest of virgin timber and they remain to be a sleeping super power. If Iran folds into war with Israel, the Russians have everything to gain....

    You tell em' Hillary, Go Obummer! Real Change in 2010 and 2012!

    October 13, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. Shirley In California

    A job well done Madame Secretary. America is becoming America again. A place to be proud of.

    Thank you.

    October 13, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. Pat F

    We got suckered, pure and simple. In exchange for stabbing our loyal allies, the Poles, in the back, we got nothing, zilch, goose egg, on Iran except empty promises.

    The world is laughing at the Obamessiah, except for the Poles, who will remember our treachery.

    October 13, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. single mom

    Sorry, but I just can't trust Russia by any name – USSR, Soviet Union, Russia, etc. I've studied the country's history and the motivations of the leaders don't change even if the names do – czar, emperor, premier, party leader, president, etc.

    October 13, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Ron In California

    Don't trust them. Russia has given us many reasons not to do so.

    October 13, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Dan, TX

    Remember, we want Iran to have nuclear power so we can take their oil. We also want more nuclear power plants in the US as well. We can store the waste in Atlanta, Dallas, Oklahoma City, in the red states, where they know storing nuclear waste is a patriotic thing to do.

    So, if we can Iran have nuclear power with inspections to ensure they don't use the spent fuel for enrichment to weapons (in fact we would take their nuclear waste and dispose of it in the US facilites cited above), that would be great for the US.

    October 13, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    So when is the US and UN going to feel "concern" about Israel's 200 nukes? Iran has attacked NO NATION in 400 years....the US and Israel attack other countries with disturbing regularity. The IAEA has said repeatedly that its surprise visits to Iran's nuclear facilities have shown over and over that NO uranium has been diverted......NONE. Yet Iran gets the full glare of the Western world even as Israel remains in defiance of UN Resolution 242 since 1967, steadily takes more and more Palestinian land, continues to occupy the Shebba Farms area, and continues criminal actions such as its Gaza offensive after sealing off the Gazans for 18 months from food, fuel, medicine and construction materials. But wait.....Iran has HUGE oil reserves...Iraq all over again as Israel gets away scott free year after year, sponsored by US weapons and funding.

    October 13, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Mississippi Miss

    So those who had hoped for Russia to support us against Iran (in exchange for our dropping our Long-Range missile defense system).
    Can agree now, that there was no quid-pro-quo from Obama to Russia. Just appeasement, pure and simple. Russia apparently has more influence with President Obama, than does General McCrystal.

    It wasn't your fault that you voted for him, but it will be if you keep him.

    October 13, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. gt

    dont trust russia ,,,,, back stabbers ,,,

    October 13, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Alex

    Yeah diplomacy!

    October 13, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Sue

    Just WHAT exactly is Obama shipping across Russia? When will we know???? What are these amazing supplies and WHERE do they actually go? We do know Russia sells everything and we seem to be re-suppplying their weapons readily.

    October 13, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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