Washington, DC – NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement regarding comments by Secretary Hillary Clinton at the Democratic presidential debate at the University of Wisconsin:
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“Hillary Clinton is wrong to say that we should not ‘promise or even look towards normalizing relations’ with Iran because of our problems with Iranian activities. As someone who was involved in the very nascent stages of the negotiations with Iran to secure the nuclear deal that she supports, Clinton should know that engagement and diplomatic relations are the best tool to achieve our national security interests. Further engagement, with an eye towards eventually formalizing those diplomatic relations, is the best way to resolve the challenges that she outlines regarding Iran.
“As someone who lauded the efforts of fellow former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for opening negotiations that led to the normalization of relations with China, Clinton’s criticisms against similar efforts with Iran don’t hold water. Distinguishing herself from Bernie Sanders in this manner only evokes her criticisms in 2007 of then presidential-candidate Barack Obama of being ‘naive’ for saying he would pursue direct negotiations with Iran. As the historic nuclear deal that prevented a war and prevented the spread of nuclear weapons demonstrates, Obama was far from naive then, and pushing for the eventual normalization of relations with Iran is not naive now.”