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23 July 2009

Shielding Mideast From Iran

from NY Times by MARK LANDLER and DAVID E. SANGER

PHUKET, Thailand — Stiffening the American line against Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Wednesday that the United States would consider extending a “defense umbrella” over the Middle East if the country continued to defy international demands that it halt work that could lead to nuclear weapons.

While such a defensive shield has long been assumed, administration officials in Washington acknowledged Wednesday that no senior official had ever publicly discussed it. Some of the officials said the timing of Mrs. Clinton’s remarks reflected a growing sense that President Obama needed to signal to Tehran that its nuclear ambitions could be countered militarily, as well as diplomatically.

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