June 18 (Bloomberg) -- Hillary Clinton urged the Obama administration to be cautious about working with Iran on combating Islamic militants in Iraq after the U.S. discussed the matter with its long-time foe.
“I’m not in favor of any formal negotiations with or agreements with Iran at this time regarding Iraq,” Clinton said yesterday in an interview with Fox News. Speaking in an earlier appearance on CNN, Clinton said any partnerships would need to be “carefully thought through.”
Clinton, 66, who hasn’t said whether she’ll run for president in 2016, is promoting her new book, “Hard Choices,” about her years as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.
In the interviews, the former U.S. senator from New York and first lady addressed issues ranging from legalizing marijuana to the capture of a militant who the Obama administration says played a central role in the 2012 deadly attack on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya.
In Iraq, Sunni Muslim fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant are battling the army of the Shiite-dominated government, threatening a sectarian civil war in one of the world’s largest oil-producing countries.
The Obama administration wants to see whether Iran, which has close ties to Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, will support political changes to weaken the Sunni militants. U.S. representatives met briefly on June 16 with Iranian officials on the sidelines of talks in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear program.
“I am not prepared to say that we go in with Iran right now, until we have a better idea what we’re getting ourselves into,” Clinton said on Fox.
On CNN, she said the capture of the militant connected to the Benghazi attack showed the U.S. has an “unwavering commitment to bring to justice those who are responsible for attacks on Americans.”
Republicans have accused the Obama administration of misleading the public about the nature of the attack and criticized Clinton for being unprepared for the assault, which killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Clinton was repeatedly asked about the incident, which probably will be a major line of attack for Republicans if she decides to run for president.
“This was the fog of war,” Clinton said on Fox when asked about shifting statement by U.S. officials on what sparked the attack. “We were trying to sort things out, like who did what when, and information kept changing.”
On another topic, Clinton said the U.S. should provide care for the tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant children who have flooded the Texas border in recent months. They should be “sent back” as soon as officials can identify responsible family members.
“We don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey,” Clinton said on CNN.
She said she supported making medical marijuana available in “appropriate circumstances.”
Asked whether she would try some of the drug, she joked: “I didn’t do it when I was young, I’m not going to start now.”
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