Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton looks through a teleprompter before discussing the Iran nuclear agreement..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – As recently as 2013, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton believed that joint military action by Israel and the United States might be necessary to stop Iran from expanding its nuclear program, according to documents released by Wikileaks over the weekend.
The documents, which have not been confirmed by her campaign as authentic, reveal her conversation with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein after a paid speech to the firm.
“The option,” Clinton said, was a massive US-led air campaign on nuclear facilities.
“The Israelis, as you know, have looked at this very closely for a number of years,” she said. “The Israelis’ estimate is even if we set their program back for just a couple of years it’s worth doing and whatever their reaction might be is absorbable.”
“That has been up until this recent government, the prior government, their position. But they couldn’t do much damage themselves.”
She proceeded to describe to Blankfein the creation of a 30,000-pound “bunker-buster” bomb intended for targets such as Iran’s burrowed nuclear facility in the city of Qom. Named the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, the Pentagon accelerated development at US President Barack Obama’s order in 2009.
“It’s a penetrator,” Clinton described. “Because if you can’t get through the hardened covering over these plants into where the centrifuges are you can’t set them back. So you have to be able to drop what is a very large precision-guided weapon.”
Israel had requested purchase rights to these weapons in 2005. President George W. Bush refused, but Obama ultimately approved a transfer in exchange for assurances that Jerusalem would withhold on a strike.
Clinton has cautiously endorsed the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers last year, characterizing it as a “lid” on Iran’s program achieved “without firing a shot.” She still rejects the nation’s declared right to enrich uranium and says that military action remains on the table.