(IsraelNN.com) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that if Iran continued with its nuclear program despite President Barack Obama’s overtures, her country would respond by increasing its military aid to friendly nations in the region.
Israel, which prefers an offensive approach to the Iranian danger rather than a defensive one, was unhappy with the remarks.
In 2007, the U.S. agreed to provide weapons worth at least $16 billion to its allies in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Clinton said this could be taken a step further and the U.S. could choose to further “upgrade the defense of our partners in the region”.
“If the US extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it’s unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer because they won’t be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon,” said Mrs. Clinton in Thailand, ahead of an Asian security conference to be held in the Thai resort of Phuket.
Mrs. Clinton said that her country “still hold[s] the door open” to talks with Tehran, but added the “nuclear clock is ticking”. She also reiterated a statement she made several weeks ago, regarding “crippling action” that could also be taken against Iran.
“I heard without enthusiasm the American declarations according to which the U.S. will defend their allies in the event that Iran uses nuclear weapons, as if they were already resigned to such a possibility,” Israeli Intelligence Services Minister Dan Meridor said.
“This is a mistake,” he added. “We cannot act now by assuming that Iran will be able to arm itself with a nuclear weapon, but [rather] to prevent such a possibility.”