WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States would create a Middle East "nuclear umbrella" should Iran obtain a nuclear weapon.
"If the U.S. extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it is unlikely Iran will be any stronger or safer," the U.S. secretary of state said Wednesday in an address in Thailand to an Asian security forum, according to a report from the French news agency AFP. "They won’t be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon."
Clinton made clear the Obama administration was set on using diplomacy and sanctions to have Iran stand down from its suspected nuclear program.
"We will still hold the door open," she said. "But we also have made it clear that we will take action, as I’ve said time and time again — crippling action — working to upgrade the defense of our partners in the region."
Clinton in her failed presidential candicacy last year had proposed a "nuclear umbrella," modeled on Cold War-era tactics aimed at containing the Soviet threat. She made it clear it was one of several possible options to confront a nuclear Iran.
An Israeli Cabinet minister said the statement was unfortunate because it suggested that the United States was ready to live with a nuclear Iran.
"We don’t need to deal with the assumption that Iran will attain nuclear weapons but to prevent this," Dan Meridor, the minister responsible for intelligence, told Israel Army Radio.
Ha’aretz reported that it had obtained a U.S. government document asking 10 nations with uranium reserves to track any sales to Iran. The Islamic Republic, the document said, is likely to deplete its own reserves of yellowcake — uranium in its raw form — by next year.