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December 10, 2007

Clinton calls for engagement in “serious diplomacy, using both carrots and sticks” with Iran

The NPR Democratic Debates (transcript) started off with a question posed to all candidates.

The Nation Intelligence Report which was released earlier in the week and said that Iran stopped their nuclear weapons program in 2003. President Bush announced the day of the debate that the findings of the NIE do not change the presidence opinion that Iran poses a threat to the world. The questions asked were,

do you agree with the president's assessment that Iran still poses a threat? And do you agree that the NIE's news shows that isolation and sanctions work?  For all of you — and let's go left to right across the radio dial — do you agree with the president's assessment that Iran still poses a threat? And do you agree that the NIE's news shows that isolation and sanctions work?

Senator Clinton was the first to answer.

Well, I'm relieved that the intelligence community has reached this conclusion, but I vehemently disagree with the president that nothing's changed and therefore nothing in American policy has to change.

I have for two years advocated diplomatic engagement with Iran, and I think that's what the president should do. He should seize this opportunity and engage in serious diplomacy, using both carrots and sticks. I think we do know that pressure on Iran does have an effect. I think that is an important lesson. But we're not going to reach the kind of resolution that we should seek unless we put that into the context of a diplomatic process.

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