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. Iran would face 'retaliation' for attack on Israel: Clinton
WASHINGTON, June 7 (AFP) Jun 07, 2009
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Iran in an interview that aired Sunday that it would face "retaliation" if it launched a nuclear attack on Israel.

"I don't think there is any doubt in anyone's mind that were Israel to suffer a nuclear attack by Iran, there would be retaliaion," Clinton said in the interview with ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

Clinton did not say who would retaliate, but was responding to a question about her stance as a candidate for the US presidency last year when she vowed that Iran would "incur massive retaliation from the United States" if it attacked Israel.

Clinton also referred to the possibility of a preemptive "first strike" on Iran's nuclear sites "the way that we did attack Iraq."

"They might have some other enemies that would do that to them," she said.

"Part of what we have to make clear to the Iranians is that their pursuit of nuclear weapons will actually trigger greater insecurity," she said, noting that both Israel and Arab states "are deeply concerned about Iran having nuclear weapons."

Clinton was interviewed Thursday in Cairo shortly after President Barack Obama said in a speech to the Muslim world that diplomatic efforts to end Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program had reached "a decisive point".

"This is not simply about America's interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path," Obama said.

But Obama also made an overture to Tehran, saying Iran "should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."

Iran has resolutely maintained its right to a nuclear program which it insists is purely for peaceful means, and Clinton said the key now was a direct diplomatic contact with Tehran to see if their real aim is simply nuclear power.

"So, we have to test that and we have to be willing to sit and listen and evaluate without giving up what we view as a primary objective of the engagement, which is to do everything we can to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state," she said.

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