Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Hillary Clintons Monday Bilateral and Iran Videoconference

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a joint press availability with His Excellency Nasser Judeh, Foreign Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on Monday, August 3rd.

Read the full text of their remarks here or watch below:

In addition to this meeting, as you probably saw from the previous post, Monday morning Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a secure video conference with 20 State Department officials worldwide on Iran.

State isn't really releasing much information, not to my surprise, but what little info I do have I got from an article over at ForeignPolicy.com.

Participating in the call was acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, Jillian Burns, the former head of the Iran-watching post at the U.S. Embassy in Dubai, who is now an Iran advisor in the State Department Office of Policy Planning, and Todd Schwartz, the director of the State Department's Iran office, and other members of that office.

They are reporting that getting everyone at State together and involved in the Iran effort together is something the Secretary has wanted to do for a long time.

During the call she thanked them for being the eyes and ears of the U.S. government on Iran, especially in the extraordinary weeks and months since the election. And the people gave her their take on the current situation. The final consensus was that the administration's calibrated remarks on the election and its aftermath have been just the right tone, and right balance.

One participant called the election a "tectonic" shift in Iran. The consensus was also that the election and its aftermath have basically led Iran to focus on its internal politics rather than any of its bilateral or multilateral relationships, including with the United States.

When Hillary was asked about Iran at a press conference later with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh Monday, she said

"We've made it very clear that we wish to engage with the Iranians in accordance with President Obama's policy to discuss a broad range of issues. That would be a bilateral channel, which we have communicated to the Iranians. And we continue to engage in multilateral channels...

I held a videoconference this morning with a number of our diplomats around the world who have expertise with respect to Iran. And we discussed what they saw happening, what they thought would be the responses coming from the Iranian Government, what was going on inside Iran. So we're not prepared to talk about any specific steps, but I have said repeatedly that in the absence of some positive response from the Iranian Government, the international community will consult about next steps, and certainly next steps can include certain sanctions."

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