Obama, Edwards Criticize Clinton on Iran

The Associated Press
Friday, October 12, 2007; 10:13 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Democrats Barack Obama and John Edwards are criticizing presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton for her latest comments on negotiating with leaders of Iran and other countries that are on poor terms with the U.S.

Obama noted on Friday that when he said in July he would meet with such leaders without setting any conditions, Clinton called his stance "irresponsible and frankly naive."

Questioned Thursday by a voter in New Hampshire, Clinton said twice that she would negotiate with Iran "with no conditions."

"I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don't really understand how Iran works. We think we do, from the outside, but I think that is misleading," she said.

Obama said Friday, "So I'm not sure if any of us knows exactly where she is standing on this issue. But I can tell you this _ when I am president of the United States, the American people and the world will always know where I stand."

Edwards' campaign chimed in from North Carolina, also noting the earlier Clinton comment and her new statement.

"You can't have it both ways _ on this or any other issue," said a statement released by Edwards communications director Chris Kofinis. "Senator Clinton needs to be honest with the American people about her plans."

Clinton said Friday her remarks on Thursday weren't different from anything she has said in the past.

"I would begin a process of negotiations with Iran. There would be no conditions set to what could be negotiated _ and that is what is meant by no conditions," Clinton said in an interview with The Associated Press in Columbia, S.C.

Clinton said the process would be handled by aides, not the president _ similar to the way the U.S. has handled North Korea.

"That's very different from saying that if you were president, you would personally meet in your first year, without conditions, with these odious dictators," Clinton said.

"What I have been saying for a long time is that the United States of America should negotiate with Iran. Right now the Bush administration will not because they hold the position that Iran must first totally renounce its nuclear program," she said earlier at a campaign stop in Atlanta.

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