Clinton: US Ready to Protect Gulf from Iran Nuclear ThreatWorld | July 22, 2009, Wednesday // 12:21| views
Hilary Clinton spoke in Thailand where she is attending a regional summit. Photo by BGNES
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the US is prepared to bolster the defence of its Gulf allies if Iran develops a nuclear weapons programme.
Clinton said if the US extended a "defence umbrella" over the region, it was unlikely that Iran would be any stronger or safer having a weapon.
She said the US was still offering engagement to Iran but warned that the "nuclear clock was ticking".
She spoke in Thailand where she is attending a regional summit, the BBC reported.
Foreign ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean), as well as EU and US envoys, are meeting on Wednesday in Thailand.
Clinton reiterated President Barack Obama's policy that talks were still an option between Iran and the US, but that "crippling action" could also be considered.
Clinton also spoke about concerns over the transfer of nuclear technology from North Korea to Burma. She condemned Burma's treatment of jailed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying Asean could consider expelling Burma from the regional grouping.
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