Clinton Seeks Arab Support For Iran Sanctions

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a tour of Persian Gulf states, urged continued support for sanctions against Iran. She said the sanctions have obstructed Tehran's suspected nuclear program.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

To the Persian Gulf now, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making news. She says sanctions are helping slow down Iran's nuclear program. She's the first U.S. official to say this publicly. And she's making the case in countries that have close trade ties with Iran.

As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, the secretary is using Gulf Arab leaders to keep the pressure on.

MICHELE KELEMEN: Dubai is so close to Iran that the port is filled with Iranian trading vessels and the U.S. consulate has a special office for Iran watchers. So this is one place where the U.S. wants to see international sanctions implemented. Clinton told a women's talk show in Abu Dhabi before coming to Dubai that it is in this region's best interest to keep financial and other pressures on Iran.

Secretary HILLARY CLINTON (Department of State): The most recent analysis is that the sanctions have been working. They have made it much more difficult for Iran to pursue its nuclear ambition. Iran's had technological problems that have made it slow down its timetable.

KELEMEN: But Clinton is walking a fine line on this trip trying to make sure that any new analysis won't dampen the resolve of the region to deal with Iran.

Sec. CLINTON: I would ask you, those of you from countries here in the region, if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, won't you believe that you have to have a nuclear weapon, too? I mean, it will be an arms race that will be extremely dangerous. So it's first and foremost in the interest of the region to persuade Iran not to pursue nuclear weapons.

KELEMEN: Diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks showed that many in this region are worried about Iranian intentions. The ruler of Abu Dhabi was quoted in one as comparing Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler, warning he could drag the region into war.

On the flight to the United Arab Emirates, Secretary Clinton said she'll be answering concerns about WikiLeaks for years to come. And she joked that she'd like a jacket like rock bands have, with a picture of the world and the slogan: The Apology Tour.

Michele Kelemen, NPR News, Dubai.

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