PRINCETON, N.J. — A tough-talking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday suggested she would back a military strike on Iran if that country’s radical Islamic government attempts to build nuclear weapons.
Clinton’s speech seemed to position her somewhat to the right of the Bush administration, which has stressed diplomacy without ruling out any other option. Most experts on the region say a military strike is not feasible and therefore unlikely.
“We cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to Iran that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons,” she said.
Her statements closely echoed comments made by interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who this week said his country would not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.
Capping off a bitter 45- minute denunciation of Bush administration policy in the Middle East, Clinton said she was optimistic that U.S. troop levels in Iraq could be reduced this year. Allying herself with Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.), the former first lady said she believes the U.S. military in the region should be reduced to a relatively small, quick-strike force to “send a message to Iran that they don’t have a free hand” in the region.