Clinton said she’s proud of her role in the Iran nuclear weapons agreement but that Iran will be held accountable for violations.
CHUCK TODD: And so we begin with Hillary Clinton who joins us from Charleston, South Carolina. Good morning Secretary Clinton.
HILLARY CLINTON: Good morning Chuck.
TODD: Let me start with the Iran deal. Yesterday in response to it you immediately said that Iran is still violating UN Security Council resolutions with its ballistic missile program which should be met with new sanctions, designations and firm results. So I guess my question is what do you tell the American public that says “okay you want new sanctions against Iran. They’re still violating agreements and yet what did we do yesterday? We just handed them a hundred billion dollars and we just did a prisoner exchange”. Would you have still done that considering your concerns about their missile program?
CLINTON: Absolutely. Look I have said for a long time that I’m very proud of the role that I played in getting us to the point where we could negotiate the agreement that puts a lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But I’ve also said that the way we’re going to hold them accountable is to have consequences when they do anything that might deviate from the agreement or continue to flout the kind of sanctions and mandates that the UN Security Council has put on including on missiles. So I see these as mutually reinforcing, Chuck. I was delighted that the prisoners are on their way home, that’s a good sign. We still don’t see Bob Levinson coming home, there’s more work to be done there. But if the implementation of the agreement which is being done today is to be successful in the way that I expect we’re going to watch Iran like the proverbial hawk and when it comes to the missile program they are under UN Security Council’s sanctions and if they are violating it which the evidence seems to suggest they should be held accountable. They need to know that this is a good step forward with respect to the nuclear weapons program but there are other areas of their behavior that we’re going to continue to be focused on.
TODD: Do you consider Iran a national security threat to the United States?
CLINTON: Well certainly we have lowered that threat because of the nuclear agreement but they continue to destabilize governments in the Middle East. They continue to support proxies and terrorists groups like Hezbollah. They continue to threaten Israel. There are a lot of concerns but what I’ve said for some time now is I’d rather have the nuclear weapons program off to one side and work to make sure they abide by the agreement and then turn our attention to some of these other behaviors that are threatening certainly in the region and therefore cause concern for us.