Interview With Anne McGinn of Network Pool

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Dar Al Hekma College
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
February 16, 2010

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you so much for the interview on behalf of all five networks.

Iran has, obviously, become a topic that has really been in the forefront on this trip, particularly after your comments about the Revolutionary Guard yesterday. I was wondering if you could speak to your thoughts about raising, on this trip, the U.S. analysis of what's going on inside of --

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it is important for us to be explaining, on a constant basis, why we think this is so important for the international community to address. As you know, we are working on a resolution for sanctions in the Security Council. The target of those sanctions will be the Revolutionary Guard.

Some people might say, "Well, why? What does that mean?" And therefore, to share our observations about the increasing power within Iran in the last year of the Revolutionary Guard is in line with our desire to get international support for these sanctions.

But it is also to perhaps equip some of our friends with some additional ways of thinking. You know, there are still some countries that may not see the threat posed by Iran the way that others do, because they have a meeting with the president or with the supreme leader, and it doesn't seem like there is that much to worry about. But if, in fact, the political and the religious leadership are not making either major or all of the important decisions now, that puts it in a different light. And that raises questions that we think deserve answers.

QUESTION: How would you respond to those who might say that, on a foreign trip, the U.S. talking about what could be considered an internal matter, that that is, you know, stoking a fire a little bit? How would you respond?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that it's on these trips where questions are asked and answered, where people's concerns are shared with the United States, as I am representing our country. And I think it is totally appropriate.

Now, in today's world, there is increasingly little difference between inside and outside. Everything is instantaneous. The words you say go around the world with the flick of a keyboard. So I think that it is a place to raise it, because clearly, it is in this region that people are most concerned about what the effects on their security will be by a nuclear-armed Iran with the missiles that could reach their territory.

QUESTION: Well, along those lines, I was wondering if you could expand a little bit on the foreign minister's comments last night when we were still in Riyadh, about sanctions. And you talked about the difference between long-term sanctions not working.

And I know you can't, you know, speak on behalf, but I was wondering if you could expand a little bit, and then also speak to whether or not you received any assurances from the Saudis about China.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We were very satisfied by our meetings with both the foreign minister and the king here in Saudi Arabia. We are very much on the same page about the need to rally the international community, to take strong action in the form of sanctions against Iran.

Now, understandably, if you are a neighbor of Iran, if you have had previous problems with Iran, if you believe Iran has actually funded terrorist attacks inside your country, as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes, you are going to be very impatient. "Let's get on with it. Let's see what we can do here. Let's try to change their decisions." But we are very much on the same page as the Saudis are about trying to, you know, alter the course of Iran's decision-making.

QUESTION: And China?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think China is part of it. As the foreign minister said, he would expect China to act like a responsible member of the Security Council, as we all hope it will.

QUESTION: Very briefly, a difficult topic. Any progress on Israeli-Palestinian issues?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are working at it, literally, every day, every single day. And we are very hopeful that negotiations will commence, that the parties will do the hard work with our facilitation to address all of the issues, from borders to security to refugees to Jerusalem that need to be addressed, in order to realize the goal of a state, a viable, independent state for the Palestinian people, and the security of the state of Israel.

Those can be reconciled. Others have tried and fallen just short of the goal. But every year that goes by makes it more imperative that we get this resolved, and that we have two states living side by side in peace and security.

QUESTION: I've been wrapped, so thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Good to talk to you.

PRN: 2010/T22-14