Will Hillary Take A Position On Iran Sanctions?

by Jim Lobe

What will former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton say, if anything, about the KirkMenendez Iran sanctions bill?

The pressure on her to take a position must be considerable, if only because, as both the former secretary and presumed front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination, she could exert a decisive influence on the bill’s fate in the Senate. If she takes a firm stance either pro or con, a dozen or more Democrats who are currently on the fence are likely to scurry in her direction, possibly enough to either persuade Majority Leader Harry Reid to block the bill from coming to the floor or to provide the hawks with enough votes to overcome an Obama veto.

The stakes for her are really quite high, particularly when you consider that her support for the Iraq war was probably the single most important reason for her defeat by Obama in 2008. If she comes out for the bill or declines to support the White House and John Kerry (and her protégée, Wendy Sherman), and the result is the bill’s enactment followed by the collapse of the P5+1 negotiations and a military strike by early 2016, she’ll once again lose the non-interventionist wing of Democratic Party to just about any challenger who now opposes the bill. This, after all, is almost certainly the biggest foreign policy issue of Obama’s second term.

On the other hand, if she opposes the bill and backs the administration of which she was a key part, she will almost certainly incur the wrath of AIPAC and its powerful donors, a situation that the Clintons have tried very hard to avoid since Bill Clinton became a rising star of the Liebermanesque Democratic Leadership Council.

So far, she’s avoided saying anything on the bill. She reportedly told a private meeting just before Christmas that she thought that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s outspoken opposition to the bill and threats of unilateral military action had actually strengthened the administrations’ hand in negotiations. On the other hand, she was the first administration official to declare publicly (as early as 2010) that Iran could conceivably be permitted to enrich uranium on its own soil as part of a comprehensive solution to the nuclear issue — a position that stands in direct opposition to provisions of the Kirk-Menendez bill. Whether she was speaking for herself or was instructed to take that position is unclear. After all, it was Clinton who went beyond Obama’s early demands that Netanyahu suspend settlement activity by insisting that there must be “no exceptions,” including in “natural growth” of the settlements. And it’s clear that neither Bill nor Hillary is particularly fond of Bibi.

But both have consistently been very respectful of AIPAC, which is clearly going all out on this.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



  1. Is it not interesting that in the greatest democracy in the world running for the highest office has become almost a family affair! We had President George Bush Sr. followed by President Bill Clinton, and the present administration may be followed by Mrs. Hillary Clinton, presumably to be followed by Governor Jeb Bush, who may be followed by Chelsea Clinton, followed by another member of the Bush dynasty, etc. It sort of makes the presidential elections easier and tidier if only a member of one of those two families is allowed to run, plus the fact that they all know the White House very well and there will be no need for refurnishing the place. Also just think how much money other ineligible candidates can save!

  2. To Farhang, as usual, your astute comment comes through, at least to this old man. Yes, you’re quite correct about both your assessment and your own ability to sit on the periphery to avoid the contamination that would befall you if you became an insider.

  3. To Se1, On a roll today, I see, and both these comments before my 3rd cup of espresso. Goodness, this has the makings of a great day, at least to MOI. I may be somewhat delusional here as far as saying that I believe that the end of this foreign entanglement between the Congress and the Israeli adventures are coming to a head. The U.S. can no longer pamper the madmen and their Zionist apartheid attitude[s], which will only bring the world to another disaster of death and destruction. Time the U.S. cuts the umbilical cord and the Israeli warmongers go it alone. Then, if their country is destroyed, it’s on them, not the U.S..

  4. Two members of the Adams family were presidents. Two Harrisons. Two Roosevelts. Two Bushes.

  5. Yes James, I am aware of that fact, but do we need more? Considering what the first Clinton did, surrounding his administration with neocons, selling out the American financial institutions-at least being a party of, do we really need Ms Clinton as P.O.T.U.S. just because of the duality of the office? Enough is enough, though perhaps if the whole top echelon of the U.S. Government wasn’t mired in corruption, but then, why would we need another family member to screw the public?

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