Iran Doesn't Like Clinton's Obliteration Threat

They've lodged a formal protest at the United Nations. Apparently, the comments were a "flagrant violation" of the U.N. charter.

Iran’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi, sent a letter of protest on Wednesday to the United Nations secretary general and the United Nations Security Council denouncing the remarks, according to IRNA.

Mrs. Clinton made the comments in an interview on ABC last week. “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” she said when she was asked what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them,” she added.

Mr. Danesh-Yazdi wrote in the letter that Mrs. Clinton’s comments were “provocative, unwarranted and irresponsible” and “a flagrant violation” of the United Nations charter, IRNA reported.

“I wish to reiterate my government’s position that the Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention to attack any other nation,” the letter said.

Politics: does this help her with that large segment of Dem primary voters who are concerned about saber-rattling and about the world's perception of America? No. But (a) Iran takes the word of Hillary Clinton seriously. (b) She gets to talk about national security on her terms.

Many Democrats believe that the projection of American power in a political context is a cover for the quasi-nationalistic unilateralism they associate with President Bush and have associated with the conservative movement ever since its first born sons cheered Douglas MacArthur in Korea. Clinton locates herself in a liberal internationalist tradition that, in a post-9-11 word, is less Dean Acheson and more Colin Powell. Clinton, incidentally, said that the U.S. "would be able" to "obliterate" Iran, not that an attack on Israel would trigger an immediate U.S. nuclear attack against Iran, as some opponents have alleged. Still, many otherwise sympathetic Democrats objected to or noticed Clinton's decision to use such a catastrophic verb like "obliterate," which is much more threatening that the vague "face consequences" that the Bush administration likes to throw in the vice president's speeches. Others believe she's using code words to get votes; or she was pandering to Jewish voters in order to drive a wedge between her and Obama; others believe her view of the world incorporates the reality of an unremittingly hostile Iran. That would be more consistent with Clinton's Congressional vote to designate the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. Clinton hasn't apologized, and she does not believe that talking tough amounts to either a rejection of the Democratic Party's national security consensus or an acceptance of the Bush Doctrine.