Clinton: U.S., Israel on the Same Page Regarding Iran

Speaking at Jerusalem press conference, U.S. Secretary of State says she has no expectation that Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard will be released.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the United States and Israel are now on the same page regarding Iran.

"It's absolutely fair to say that we are on the same page at this moment trying to figure our way forward to have the maximum impact on affecting the decisions that Iran makes," Clinton said during a press conference in Jerusalem.

Clinton said that the proposals Iran has made on its nuclear program in the P5+1 talks were "non-starters."

She said that Iran is under more pressure than ever before, and that the U.S. would prefer a diplomatic solution to the issue regarding its controversial nuclear program.

Earlier Monday, Clinton hinted after her meeting with President Shimon Peres that there are differences of opinion between the U.S. and Israel over how to deal with Iran.

Talking to the press, Clinton said, "It is a time of uncertainty but also of a big opportunity in the region. At times like these friends like us need to work together in a smart, creative and courageous way."

During her second press conference on Monday, Clinton also commented on the issue of the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who is jailed in the United States. Despite great efforts by Israeli leaders to secure his freedom, Clinton said Monday that she does not have "any expectation that Pollard will be released."

Clinton was speaking to reporters Monday after holding extensive talks with Israeli leaders on Iran, the Palestinians, Egypt, and other issues.

Another subject that Clinton addressed during her meeting with Israeli officals was Israel's talks with the Palestinians. An Israeli official said that Clinton told him and his colleagues that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad were the best partners for peace Israel would have, and that one cannot know who will follow them. Clinton stressed that Israel should take action to strengthen the Palestinian Authority.

In her press conference Monday evening, Clinton said that she made it clear to the Palestinians that only negotiations would lead to peace and that unilateral actions through international organizations would not. She said that she told Abbas and Netanyahu the same thing – the international community can assist, but the bulk of the work needs to be done by the two parties.

With respect to Egypt, an Israeli official said that Clinton, who visited Egypt last week, said that the new President Mohammed Morsi was planning to deal with internal matters and isn't expected to affect any changes in Egypt's relations with Israel.

At the press conference, Clinton said that she told Morsi that the U.S. expected Egypt to respect its international commitments.

Clinton said that U.S. believed that Israel ought to restore its relations with Turkey.

Clinton at Jerusalem press conference - AFP - July 16, 2012