Madam Secretary

Hillary Clinton pressed Obama to talk tough on Iran

  If Secretary Clinton had been president, the United States would have been talking tough about Iran at least two days earlier. Clinton — known for laying the smack down verbally — spent two whole days urging President Obama to talk tough on Iran before he finally did, reports the Washington Times. And then when he did condemn the ...

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If Secretary Clinton had been president, the United States would have been talking tough about Iran at least two days earlier.

Clinton — known for laying the smack down verbally — spent two whole days urging President Obama to talk tough on Iran before he finally did, reports the Washington Times. And then when he did condemn the violence, he did so without telling her first, making it look like the State Department was “out of sync” with the White House.

According to the article, Clinton originally agreed that the U.S. response should be somewhat restrained to avoid creating the impression that the United States was meddling in Iran’s internal affairs — and because the U.S. government would most likely end up having to deal with Ahmadinejad later on regarding nuclear weapons.

But after 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan was shot on a Tehran street on June 20, Clinton decided it was time for tough talk (a position you all supported in last week’s poll). She spent two days urging Obama to speak out, but he resisted. Then on June 23, without informing her first, he announced, “I strongly condemn these unjust actions.”

Of course Obama is the president and doesn’t need Clinton’s permission to speak, but as the Washington Times article states, his tough words made the State Department look “out of sync” with the White House. Until an hour before Obama’s news conference, the State Department was still speaking in restrained terms (saying it was “deeply concerned,” etc.)

Maybe Obama will listen to Clinton’s foreign-policy advice more carefully next time — or at least give her a heads-up about any unexpected moves.

Photo: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. @pjaroonFP

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