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Video: Clinton: Iran’s ‘dangerous escalation’

  1. Transcript of: Clinton: Iran’s ‘dangerous escalation’

    ANN CURRY, co-host: Now to the alleged Iranian-backed plot to kill a Saudi official in Washington, DC. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling it a, quote, "dangerous escalation in Iran 's support for terrorism," and she sat down for an exclusive interview with Savannah Guthrie . Hey, Savannah , good morning.

    SAVANNAH GUTHRIE reporting: Good morning to you, Ann. You know, even top US officials say this plot to assassinate a diplomat at a Washington restaurant sounds like something that came right out of an international spy novel. But investigators say this was very real and it's made an already antagonistic relationship between the US and Iran that much worse. Secretary of State Clinton is saying Iran will be held accountable. Do we know that the top members of the Iranian government were aware of this plot?

    Secretary of State HILLARY CLINTON: We think that this was conceived and directed from Tehran . We know that it goes to a certain level within the Quds Force , which is part of the Revolutionary Guard, which is the military wing of the Iranian government . And we know that this was in the making and there was a lot of communication between the defendants and others in Tehran . So we're going to let the evidence unfold. But the important point to make is that this just is in violation of international norms. It is a state -sponsored act of terror and the world needs to speak out strongly against it.

    GUTHRIE: It's very brazen, as you mentioned.

    Sec. CLINTON: Yes.

    GUTHRIE: Which suggests the Iranians didn't particularly fear retaliation by the US.

    Sec. CLINTON: Well, I think it's a little hard to tell what was really going on, why this was given a seal of approval, why there was a go-ahead from Tehran . Whether within their military and their government the kinds of debates and divisions that we are now watching unfold because it's difficult to know who's actually making the decisions. Was this for political purposes? Was this just a crazy idea that got out of hand?

    GUTHRIE: Do you think the Ayatollah ordered it?

    Sec. CLINTON: We don't know, we don't know and I'm not going to speculate.

    GUTHRIE: Well, Tehran , of course, denies all of this, insists America fabricated the entire plot in part as a way to distract from those Occupy Wall Street protests, Ann.

    CURRY: Meantime, she also talked about her future. You asked her about that. What did she have to say?

    GUTHRIE: Yes, she did. She's made it no secret, of course, that she plans to leave her current role as secretary of state at the end of this term. And then we talked about all that talk in Washington that she could be added to the Obama ticket as vice president. Do you ever google yourself?

    Sec. CLINTON: I don't.

    GUTHRIE: If you googled...

    Sec. CLINTON: I'm a little worried about that.

    GUTHRIE: Yeah. If you googled yourself today, you would find suggestion that perhaps you would be vice president, that you could do -- there would be a switcheroo and that you might possibly be the vice president and Biden would come over as secretary of state . Is there any chance you would be vice president in the second term?

    Sec. CLINTON: No. There is not.

    GUTHRIE: Is it -- is it in the realm of possibility?

    Sec. CLINTON: I do not think it's even in the realm of possibility. And in large measure because I think Vice President Biden has done an amazingly good job. He has taken on the burden of selling the economic plan, of traveling the country, of answering people's questions.

    GUTHRIE: Has anyone ever raised the possibility with you?

    Sec. CLINTON: No, no. I just -- I think it's maybe a subject for speculation on Google , but it's not a serious issue in the administration.

    GUTHRIE: All right. So what is in her future? We're going to talk about whether she'll ever run for office again and whether she thinks her daughter Chelsea ever would. Our full interview airs Monday on TODAY, Ann.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 10/13/2011 7:52:21 AM ET 2011-10-13T11:52:21

Hillary Clinton shot down speculation she could join the Obama 2012 ticket as vice president in 2012 in an exclusive interview with TODAY. Switching positions with Joe Biden, per rumors swirling around Washington, is not "in the realm of possibility,’’ the secretary of state told Savannah Guthrie.

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Video: Clinton: Iran’s ‘dangerous escalation’ (on this page)

“I do not think it's even in the realm of possibility, and in large measure because I think Vice President Biden has done an amazingly good job,’’ Clinton told Guthrie in an interview that aired partially on Thursday. “He has taken on the burden of, you know, selling the economic plan, of traveling the country, of answering people's questions.’’

The possibility of an Obama/Clinton ticket in 2012 has not even been raised to her, she said.

“It's maybe a subject for speculation on Google, but it's not a serious issue in the administration,’’ Clinton said.

Guthrie discussed a range of issues with Clinton, from the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington to domestic affairs to whether she will run for president in 2016. The exclusive TODAY interview will air in full on Monday.

Clinton believes that the alleged plot by the Iranian government to kill a Saudi official, which she called a "dangerous escalation," came from the highest levels.

“We think that this was conceived and directed from Tehran,’’ Clinton said. “We know that it goes to a certain level within the Quds Force, which is part of the Revolutionary Guard, which is the military wing of the Iranian government. And we know that this was in the making, and there was a lot of communication between the defendants and others in Tehran.

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“So we're going to let the evidence unfold. But the important point to make is that this just is in violation of international norms. It is a state-sponsored act of terror, and the world needs to speak out strongly against it.’’

Clinton would not speculate on whether the act was ordered by the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or what the motivation may have been behind the alleged plot.

“It's a little hard to tell what was really going on, why this was given a seal of approval, why there was a go-head from Tehran,’’ she said. “It's difficult to know who's actually making the decisions. Was this for political purposes? Was this just a crazy idea that got out of hand?’’

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