New York (CNN) – Hillary Clinton cast doubt Wednesday on whether Iran would ultimately agree to halt its nuclear program, the end goal of a longstanding U.S. effort that President Barack Obama has touted as a top foreign policy achievement.
Clinton told the American Jewish Congress in New York that she was “personally skeptical that the Iranians would follow through and deliver” on the interim deal Obama announced late last year, which mandated Iran reduce its stockpile of highly enriched uranium and allow inspectors into some of its facilities.
“I have seen their behavior over years,” Clinton said of Iran. “But this is a development that is worth testing.”
Obama has maintained optimism a final deal can be reached with Iran to end its nuclear program, though he’s admitted the plan “may not succeed.”
On Tuesday, Clinton said there were other routes for the United States should the talks fail.
“Let’s be clear,” Clinton said. “Every other option does remain on the table.”
But speaking to an audience of Jewish leaders that included several members of Congress, the former secretary of state also backed Obama in dissuading Congress from passing further sanctions on Iran during negotiations.
“If the world judges fairly or unfairly that negotiations have collapsed because of the actions by our Congress, even some of our closest partners will falter,” she said. “So we want to give space for diplomacy to work.”
A bipartisan group of senators was poised to pass additional sanctions on Iran last year, though calls for a vote died down after Obama said he needed time for diplomacy to work with Iran.
Clinton's appearance at the American Jewish Congress gala had its lighter moments. Clinton proclaimed herself a fan of “The Good Wife” on CBS, whose star Julianna Margulies introduced her. And Israeli singer Liel Kolet came down off the stage to serenade Clinton at her seat during the dinner.