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High political stakes for Clinton on Iran nuclear agreement

Published:Tuesday | April 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Hillary Rodham Clinton


Hillary Rodham Clinton can claim a piece of the victory if the US and other world powers ultimately complete a final nuclear deal with Iran.

She will own a piece of the failure if the negotiations collapse or produce a weak deal.

Her statement after Thursday's tentative agreement suggests the soon-to-be Democratic candidate for president knows those are her stakes.

She called the framework "an important step," while cautioning that "the devil is always in the details."

"The onus is on Iran and the bar must be set high," said Clinton, who helped lay the groundwork for the diplomacy with Iran as President Barack Obama's first secretary of state. "There is much to do and much more to say in the months ahead, but for now, diplomacy deserves a chance to succeed."

The issue will figure prominently in the foreign policy debate of the 2016 presidential campaign. Nearly all the expected GOP candidates said the outline agreement was dangerous to US interests.

"This attempt to spin diplomatic failure as a success is just the latest example of this administration's farcical approach to Iran," said Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He is likely to make foreign policy a centrepiece of his candidacy.

But Clinton occupies a unique space on the nuclear issue because of her role in Obama's Cabinet. She sent a close adviser, Jake Sullivan, to participate in the secret talks with Iran that led to the start of the international negotiations over the country's nuclear ambitions.