Where Does Hillary Stand on the Iran Agreement?

by Eli Clifton

Billionaire Haim Saban, a longtime Clinton donor, defended Hillary Clinton’s commitment to Israel in an interview on Israel’s Channel One preceding the former secretary of state’s announcement of her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination last Sunday. When asked about Clinton’s position on the Iran framework agreement, Saban claimed to “know where she stands but I can’t talk about it.”

When pressed, Saban responded, “everything that she thinks and everything she has done and will do will always be for the good of Israel. We don’t need to worry about this.” This blanket statement led The Hill’s Naomi Friedman, to leap to the conclusion that “Clinton is against the deal.”

That conclusion runs counter to Clinton’s statement applauding the deal as an “important step.” Clinton acknowledged that “the devil is always in the details” but “diplomacy deserves a chance to succeed.”

There is little indication to suggest that Hillary Clinton has chosen to oppose the deal brokered between the P5+1 and Iran. But Clinton’s ties to Saban will be an important relationship to keep an eye on as she rolls out her campaign’s foreign policy positions and announces her support or opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran.

Saban, a pro-Israel powerhouse within the Democratic Party, lavishly funds Bill Clinton’s presidential foundation as well as the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). This fundraising arm of AIPAC arranges for congressional junkets to Israel, among other projects.

Between 2008 and 2013, Saban’s family foundation pumped over $8 million into the Clinton presidential foundation in Little Rock, Arkansas and contributed $5 million to the AIEF. AIPAC has expressed reservations about the framework agreement, warning that it “could result in a final agreement that will leave Iran as a threshold nuclear state.”

Saban has gone even further. Speaking alongside GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson at an Israeli-American Council conference in November, Saban criticized the Obama administration’s negotiating tactics with Iran, complaining, “we’ve shown too many carrots and a very small stick.” He warned that if necessary to defend Israel against Iran, “I would bomb the living daylights out of the sons of bitches.”

Indeed, Saban, a dual Israeli-U.S. citizen, has also been supportive of the Israeli military. Between 2008 and 2013, Saban gave $7.43 million to Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a group that provides support for serving members of the IDF and the families of fallen soldiers, according to tax documents.

Nothing Saban said in the interview provides any real indication that Hillary Clinton opposes the framework agreement or the Obama administration’s efforts to reach an agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear program. But Saban’s eagerness to appear as “in the know” and his philanthropy to the Clinton’s alongside pro-Israel and pro-IDF charities, gives some indication as to how he will be lobbying Hillary Clinton over the coming nineteen months … and possibly beyond.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. Well, I’m certainly reassured to be told of Hilary Clinton’s loyalty to a foreign country! What better qualification to be President of the United States?

  2. Good for Saban. If it were some legislators went to Taiwan while taking money from the firm lobbying for Taiwan ,and passed
    legislation favoring Taiwan the junket would come under scrutiny .

  3. Anyone ever ask about these duel citizenship holders about where they make their money-country-but support a foreign country-Israel in the political arena? One might even believe that the U.S. is nothing but a money producer for the Israeli cause. Of course, to believe so, makes same an Anti-Israeli-government, that is. Read an article about the N.Y.Fed moving things to Chicago in fear of some disaster, natural or perhaps an Nuclear attach, probably from a submarine launched missile. Perhaps on the West coast also.

  4. Clinton has said that she is happy with the vague framework, which is a long way from any agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
    “The understanding that the major world powers have reached with Iran is an important step toward a comprehensive agreement that would prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and strengthen the security of the United States, Israel, and the region.”
    Meanwhile, even without a definitive agreement, the rest of the world seems to be moving on as if there were an agreement, Clinton notwithstanding (literally). That irrelevance of Clinton pretty much describes her tenure as SecState as well, except of course for her disastrous negative influence on MENA. On those matters she was not irrelevant, unfortunately.

  5. The wholesale auction of the American political system to billionaires foreign and domestic… Exactly what the founding fathers envisioned for this country. George Washington must be pleased.

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