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'Vigor and Vigilance': Hillary Clinton Outlines Iran Deal Approach

Clinton supports the nuclear deal with Tehran, but says more must be done to support Israel and to counter Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran.
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Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that the Iran nuclear deal negotiated between world powers and Tehran must be enforced with “vigor and vigilance" and that she would not hesitate to take military action and protect the United States and its allies.

During remarks at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C., Clinton outlined her plan for Iran, highlighting her focus on the safety of Israel.

Acknowledging that the deal is "not perfect," the Democratic presidential candidate added that she would take a “distrust and verify” approach, invoking Ronald Reagan’s call to “trust but verify.”

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"It’s not enough just to say yes to this deal. Of course it isn’t. We have to say: 'Yes, and we will enforce it with vigor and vigilance. Yes, and we will embed it in a broader strategy to confront Iran's bad behavior in the region,'" she said.

Clinton detailed the dangers of a failed deal, warning that, “Without a deal, we would have no credible inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities. With a deal, we’ll have unprecedented access.”

"If we walk away now, our capacity to sustain and enforce sanctions will be severely diminished,” she said. “We will be blamed, not the Iranians.”

Clinton said her plan would build a coalition to counter groups like Hezbollah, which are supported by Iran.

It appears the Republican-led Senate will be unable to mount a veto-proof majority sinking the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran, which would trade easing of economic sanctions in return for a reduction of Iranian centrifuges and low-enriched uranium stockpiles, among other concessions.

"I don't see Iran as our partner in implementing the agreement," Clinton said, explaining that she sees Iran as "the subject" of the agreement.

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Vowing to “always stand by Israel’s right to defend itself, as I always have,” Clinton said she would invite the Israeli Prime Minister to the White House during her first month in office.

The former secretary of state said it wasn’t just about policy but that this decision was “personal.” Her plan opposes Iran's limits on freedom of expression against its people, and that could include increasing human rights sanctions. She also called for all Americans held by Iran to be released.

Clinton criticized Republican candidates Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio by name for their foreign policy positions. She did not mention Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, who are holding a dueling rally on the deal later Wednesday in Washington, DC.

The deadline for Congress to act on the nuclear agreement is Sept. 17.