Middle East

Hillary Clinton issues new Iran warning on Israel visit

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said during her visit to Israel that the US will "use all elements of American power" to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

She said proposals made so far by Iran on the issue were "non-starters".

Mrs Clinton also said the US was working hard on a new resolution "with consequences" on Syria.

She added that she discussed Egypt with Israel's leaders and said the nations' peace treaty should be honoured.


Addressing a news conference after meeting President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mrs Clinton said everyone would prefer a diplomatic resolution to the Iran nuclear issue.

She said: "Iran's leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision. The choice is ultimately Iran's."

But Mrs Clinton added: "We will use all elements of American power to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon."

The latest round of talks between six world powers and Iran, held in Moscow last month, ended without a breakthrough.

The so-called "P5+1" group - the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany - want Tehran to suspend the enrichment of uranium to a level of 20%, close down an underground enrichment facility near the city of Qom and export its stockpile of 20%-enriched uranium.

Iran, which insists its nuclear programme is purely peaceful, demanded the West lift its sanctions.

The two sides agreed to downgrade negotiations to a technical level before deciding on whether to hold further high-level talks

On Syria, Mrs Clinton said the US was working hard on a new UN resolution.

She said she had spoken to UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan on Sunday ahead of his visit to Moscow.

Image caption Mrs Clinton again called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to go, saying "the regime cannot survive"

Mrs Clinton said they had agreed there must be a new resolution "with consequences".

The UN observer mission's mandate in Syria comes on to an end on Friday and there must be a new resolution to renew it.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the West of threatening to end the mission if Moscow opposed its draft resolution, which threatens more sanctions.

Mrs Clinton again called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to go, saying "the regime cannot survive".

On Egypt, which Mrs Clinton visited ahead of her trip to Israel, the secretary of state said both regional nations shared a strong interest and commitment to their peace treaty.

She said she accepted that many people in Egypt were still unsure about the future, with no parliament, constitution or government, and pressing problems with the economy, the political system and what she termed "fissures in society".

"The amount of work would be daunting for the most experienced political leaders," she said.

On the issue of the Middle East peace process, Mrs Clinton said an "urgent negotiated solution" was needed because the status quo was unsustainable.

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