Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton admitted on Thursday that critics of the Iran nuclear deal had a "respectable argument," but also said there were no alternatives.
"There are people on the other side of this whom I respect, who have said very clearly: 'I can’t support it, I think it’s a mistake.' They believe the Iranians will cheat," Clinton was quoted by Reuters as having said at a town hall meeting in Dover, New Hampshire.
She went on to admit, "I think that is a respectable argument. However, I think it’s important to ask what are our alternatives."
"Do I trust the Iranians? Absolutely not," stressed Clinton.
The former Secretary of State said the United States must move forward with a nuclear deal with Iran "with our eyes wide open," noting she does not believe it will get Iran to stop sponsoring terrorist activity in the region, reported The Associated Press (AP).
She said the deal "gives us a better chance than a lesser chance" to improve security for allies, like Israel, in the Middle East, but also described her backing of the Iran nuclear deal as a "cold, calculating assessment," saying she does not trust the Iranians to change their "bad behavior" in other areas.
The comments come amid Israel’s continuing insistence that the deal is a bad one and would allow Iran to become a military nuclear state.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decried the accord as a "bitter mistake of historic proportions" when it was announced earlier this week, and later made clear that Israel “is not bound by this deal with Iran, because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves."
President Barack Obama, however, defended the deal, saying on Wednesday that while Netanyahu’s concerns over Israel’s security were legitimate, he has not presented a better alternative.
On Thursday, meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem, where the two faced off over the deal in a joint press conference.
Hammond said he realized Israel "disagreed fundamentally" to the nuclear deal but adding that he felt it was the best option, while Netanyahu warned that the deal “paves this terrorist regime's path to the bomb.”