February 7th, 2010
09:03 AM ET
13 years ago

Clinton defends Obama's engagement strategy on Iran, N. Korea

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's strategy of engaging both Iran and North Korea has shown positive results by starting to bring together the rest of the world to act jointly against their nuclear ambitions, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, Clinton replied with a blunt "no" when asked by CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley if Iran had taken up Obama on his offer in his inaugural address last year to "extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

"But the fact is, because we engaged, the rest of the world has really begun to see Iran the way we see it," Clinton said in the interview conducted Thursday.

Clinton pointed out that a year ago, much of the world, including Russia, did not share the U.S. perception that Iran's nuclear program posed a major threat.

Now there is greater awareness of the threat, Clinton said, due to "a very slow and steady diplomacy plus the fact that we had a two-track process."

"Yes, we reached out on engagement to Iran, but we always had the second track which is that we would have to try to get the world community to take stronger measures if they didn't respond on the engagement front," Clinton said.

On Friday, Iran's foreign minister had said he believed a solution will be reached over the proposed deal to export uranium for enrichment abroad, as demanded by Western nations worried that Tehran plans to use its program to build nuclear weapons.

However, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday he had ordered Iran's atomic chief to increase the nation's enrichment of uranium at home. Ahmadinejad did not set a deadline for the increase..

"The doors for interaction are still open," Ahmadinejad said at a ceremony marking Iran's laser technology achievements.

An accord on exchanging nuclear fuel could mark a breakthrough in the long-running dispute over Iran's nuclear program, which the West fears could be used to produce an atomic bomb.

Iran, a major oil producer, says it only aims to generate electricity and its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes.

With regard to North Korea, Clinton said it also has spurned the Obama administration's efforts at engagement over its nuclear ambitions.

"But because we were willing to engage, we ended up getting a very strong sanctions regime against North Korea that China signed onto and Russia signed onto," Clinton said. "And right now is being enforced around the world."

Related: Clinton names biggest threats to U.S.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iran • North Korea • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. lannymous

    Full court press this morning by CNN and Obamists. We non ivy league edubacated peasants must be irritating you.

    How oh how Barry have you improved the situtation with N. Korea and Iran ? You blather, HillHill blathers, but nada.

    February 7, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  2. 3 AM ?

    Isn't this the same Hillary that warned us that Obama was incapable of handling national security issues, warning us that he could not handle that "3 AM Call".

    Is she telling the truth now or back during the campaign?

    Was that just politcal play back then or now?

    February 7, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. Larry of Massachusetts

    So I said to him, "Barack, I knew Abe Lincoln, and you are not Abe Lincoln"

    ."You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
    You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence.
    You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves."

    ........Abraham Lincoln

    February 7, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. China says NO SANCTIONS......

    against Iran......the strategy is a loser.......

    February 7, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  5. Hugo

    Riiiiiigggggghhhhhhttt! It should provide the Iranians just enough time to complete nuclear ability and then what? Guess what Hillary, you have accomplished zilch in North Korea and Iran and a day of reckoning is soon to be upon us. Same lame foreign policy as your hubby that brought us 9/11 et al; !

    February 7, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. ib

    What else would expect from her. Iran said they are expanding their nuclear program just this weekend and people say Obama's plan is working; are you blind or just taking up for Obama by still blaming Bush for Obama's failures??????????

    February 7, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. rachel

    After watching that tavis smiley special I have so much more respect for you secretary clinton. Lets get it done.

    February 7, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. chris l

    its a shame that she has to defend OBOZOS inept and pathetic foreign policy. i guess it goes along with the job. Its ok though because when she is done in 2012 and OBOZO is thrown out of office she will be free to talk openly about the complete failure of this administration.

    February 7, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. Scott, Tucson

    Positive Results?? Lady step back from the table and put down the obama kool-aid and sober up. When did sanctions ever work on N. Korea and Iran? obama is being played for the weak fool he is.

    February 7, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. Kevin in Ohio

    Oops...there goes another missle. Maybe more talk and placation will work......

    February 7, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Jerry

    There is no defense for Obama=weak America,

    February 7, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. lisa

    you people need to understand, you can only do so much with another country, we are already in 2 wars by the previous commander-n- chief, which is still going on, its like you want to start another war with another country, lets try talks with these countries what could the harm be? We could not with stand another war and expect to help our economy

    February 7, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. valwayne

    What Sec Clinton said in diplo-speak was: Obama's policy of engagement (chatting over tea) is the biggest failure in U.S. diplomatic history. Everything in regard to N Korea and Iran is worse today that a year ago, and Iran will soon have a nuclear arsenal. The world will soon be infinitely more dangerous for all of us.

    February 7, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. Scott, Tucson

    So Hillary when do you plan to quit this administration and make your bid to run against the wimp in 2012?

    February 7, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. ObamasRecordDefict

    It has been working? WHERE?

    What a bunch of double talk.

    February 7, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Right Leaning Independent

    This administration is so naive! The whole world knows and knew what Iran was! Several countries did not stand by the US in dealing with Iran due to politics and nothing more! This administration is the only one that had to learn that the almighty Obama and Clinton were not going to be able to talk Iran into abandoning their nuclear ambitions.. This is truly a learn as they go administration!

    February 7, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. Fitz in Texas

    This administration isn't even capable of crossing someone across the street safely. And when it comes to keeping America safe, this administration is clueless.

    February 7, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Roxanne Auge

    I have yet to hear anything come out of the right wing, republican, or Tea Party group(s?) that reflects any thing other than whining, posturing, or finger pointing. Do any of you actually have anything constructive to add to the conversation?

    February 7, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |