While most Republican presidential contenders have been criticized for speaking out against President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, on the very day the U.S. dropped sanctions on the Persian Gulf country, Hillary Clinton called for new sanctions.
The likely Democratic presidential nominee praised Obama after Iran released four U.S. citizens late last week, but took a tougher stance than his administration, saying the United States should not “thank” the country for releasing prisoners “unjustly” held, according to The Hill.
“These prisoners were held unjustly by a regime that continues to threaten the peace and security of the Middle East,” Clinton said. “Another American, Bob Levinson, still isn’t home with his family.”
Clinton avoided bashing the weak-kneed Obama administration directly as she acknowledged this week’s bizarre capture and treatment of U.S. sailors by Iran.
“The treatment of our Navy sailors earlier this week was offensive, including the release of demeaning and provocative videos.”
Borrowing a page from Ronald Reagan, Clinton said her policy toward Iran would be “distrust and verify,” breaking with Obama in a call for new sanctions on the country over its ballistic missile program.
“Iran is still violating UN Security Council resolutions with its ballistic missile program, which should be met with new sanctions designations and firm resolve,” Clinton said.
But the former secretary of state who all but called the families of the four Americans killed in Benghazi liars said she was happy for the families of the four Americans just released.
“I am greatly relieved by the safe return of American prisoners from Iran,” she said in a statement. “Their families and our country have waited and prayed for this day to come.”
Muddying the waters even further — a Clinton trademark — the candidate expressed support for the nuclear agreement that Iran is already violating with its ballistic missile program.
In fact, Clinton tried to take some credit for the “important achievement of diplomacy,” saying it was “an important step forward in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
“These are important steps that make the United States, our allies, and the entire world safer,” she said. “I congratulate President Obama and his team, and I’m proud of the role I played to get this process started.”
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