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Clinton Says No Options Off Table With Iran

U.S. Secretary of State-designate and Senator Hillary Clinton (right) during her confirmation hearing

U.S. Secretary of State-designate and Senator Hillary Clinton (right) during her confirmation hearing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton has said the Obama administration would take no options off the table when dealing with Iran, but a policy review was under way over how to tackle Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

"We will pursue a new, perhaps different approach," Clinton told the Senate hearing needed to confirm her as the next secretary of state. "What we have tried has not worked."

Pressed about whether the review included opening up a diplomatic presence in Iran, which the Bush administration decided to do in principle but did not ultimately go ahead with, Clinton said this was part of the policy review.

"These are matters that are part of our policy review. We will turn to them with great diligence and attention," she said, without providing any timeline.

"No option is off the table," she told the Senate hearing.

The Bush administration, together with its allies, has pursued several rounds of UN sanctions against Iran in a bid to get it to give up sensitive nuclear work and Clinton indicated this approach would continue.

"We will do everything we can pursue through diplomacy, through the use of sanctions, through creating better coalitions with countries that we believe also have a big stake in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon power," Clinton said.

Pressed whether and when the United States would directly engage Iran, Clinton said Washington wanted to consult with its allies before making any decisions over how to proceed.

But, without giving details, she promised an attitude toward engagement with Iran "that might bear fruit."

"We have no illusions, Mr. Chairman, that even with a new administration looking to try to engage Iran in a way that might influence its behavior, that we can predict the results. But the president-elect is committed to that course and we will pursue it," she said.