Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Iran today that its aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons is "futile" and that the U.S. is doing all it can to make sure the country never obtains an atomic bomb.
"What we want to do is to send a message to whoever is making these decisions that if you are pursing nuclear weapons for the purpose of intimidating, of protecting your power, we're not going to let that happen," she said.
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In an hour-long interview that aired Sunday, the nation's top diplomat spoke out strongly against Tehran's efforts to pursue a nuclear weapons program -- and did not rule out the possibility of a "nuclear umbrella" for U.S. allies, an idea she first raised last week at an Asian security conference.
"We are not talking in specifics. ... because that would come later, if at all," Clinton said. "My view is, you hope for the best and you plan for the worst."
Clinton said the people of Iran "deserve better than what they're getting" in the wake of violent protests that erupted in the country last month over the outcome of the presidential election that favored incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- but she stopped short of saying whether she believe the regime was ligitimate.
"That's for the people of Iran to decide, " she said. "We have negotiated with many governments who we did not believe represented the will of their people."
Thousands of Iranians protested the outcome of the elections last month during what became a bloody government crackdown of civilians who challenged the legitimacy of the regime.
Clinton declined to say whether she believed the Iranian administration was legitimate.