An email released by the organization Wikileaks Monday reveals that Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta requested Hillary Clinton remove a line from her 2015 speech to the Brookings Institute’s Saban Forum referring to the fights against the Islamic State and the government of Iran as “intimately related.”
In a December 4, 2015 email, two days before the event, Clinton campaign speechwriting director Dan Schwerin emailed Podesta a copy of Clinton’s speech to the forum. Among a number of comments, Podesta replied in response to the sentence “Countering Iran and defeating ISIS are not distinct missions–they are intimately related.”
“I think the sentence… is intellectually flabby and can get us in more trouble than it’s worth,” Podesta advised. “Saying that we have to deal with both problems simultaneously is not the same as implying that both need resolution or neither can be solved.”
The final draft of the speech, as it was delivered, did not include the line. Clinton reaffirmed her support for the Iran nuclear deal – which will allow Iran to pursue nuclear weapons in 11 years, as per a secret agreement – and her support of potentially using military force to keep Iran from violating the provisions of the deal:
We all agree that Iran can never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. Now as you know I supported the nuclear agreement negotiated by the United States and other members of the Security Council plus Germany. Is it perfect? No, no agreement like that ever is. But I believe if it is aggressively implemented and enforced this deal will help us prevent a nuclear armed Iran. Now that said it’s not enough to say yes to this deal, we have to say yes and we will vigorously enforce it…
Our approach must be distrust and verify…
They’ve already started to do so with a ballistic missile test and other provocative behavior. We have to response to these provocations including with further sanction designations as necessary.
Of the Islamic State, she says the group is “an exponential force” and accuses “the Saudis, the Qataris, the Kuwaits and others” of allowing citizens to “support radical schools and mosques around the world.”
Clinton confirms that she supports “a military option” against Iran as a last resort and accuses Iran of being a pivotal reason why the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad in Syria is still standing. She does not, however, equate the struggle against the Sunni and Shiite terrorist powers in the region.
The Iranian government has used the Islamic State to expand its influence in the greater Middle East, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei claiming that the United States “created” the Islamic State to drum up support for Assad in Syria. Iran funds Shiite militias in Iraq that have been accused of attempted ethnic cleansing, torture, and murder of Arab Sunni civilians in Iraq, and reportedly sent top commander Qasem Soleimani to Iraq in May 2016. These same Shiite militias have threatened to abandon any challenge to the Islamic State if the United States participates in the struggle against ISIS, instead turning their guns against the Americans.
The Islamic State, on its end, has declared jihad on the state of Iran and views the Shiite sect of Islam as an “heretical” sect, worthy of even more scorn that Christians or pagans who do not claim Mohammed as part of their religion.