Clinton: Tehran Hardliners Seek an Attack on Iran in Order to Legitimize the Regime

In interview with Charlie Rose, U.S. Secretary of State says some in the Iran leadership want to provoke a strike on the country in order to unify the people behind the government.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that there are those in Iran that would like an attack to occur, in order to unify the country and legitimize the regime.

During a joint interview with former Secretary of State James Baker on Charlie Rose, Clinton noted the vigorous debate taking place within the Iranian leadership.

"There are those who say look, these sanctions are really biting, were not making the kind of economic progress we should be making, we dont give up that much by saying were not going to do a nuclear weapon," Clinton said.

"And then frankly, there are those who are saying the best thing that could happen to us is be attacked by somebody, just bring it on, because that would unify us, it would legitimize the regime," she added.

Clinton said that the hardliners inside the Iranian government want to provoke and attack, because that would strengthen their hold on power.

Clinton also said that a nuclear Iran would start a regional arms race that would destabilize the Middle East.

"If Iran has a nuclear weapon, I can absolutely bet on it and know I will win, they will be in the market within hours. And that is going to create a cascade of difficult challenges for us and for Israel and for all of our friends and partners," Clinton said.

Baker, meanwhile, said that he supported the current U.S. administration's way of handling Iran, but emphasized that if someone was to attack Iran, then it should be the U.S., as opposed to Israel.

"If anybodys going to do it, we ought to do it because we have the capability of doing it," Baker said.

In response, Clinton exercised caution and added, "and hopefully we wont get to that."

Clinton in interview with Charlie Rose - June 21, 2012