Reid urges tough line on Iran

WASHINGTON -- Speaking before presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama at a meeting of a pro-Israel group, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday argued for a more aggressive approach to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

"We must use every effective tool at our disposal to thwart Iran's evil intent just as we changed the Soviet Union's conduct and ended the Cold War," he told the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

Reid said diplomatic efforts might not be enough, but he did not go as far as Obama, who later told AIPAC that he would do "everything" -- "and I mean everything" -- to stop Iran from gaining nuclear capability.

Reid argued for "tougher and more effective sanctions by a united international community."

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who has not yet conceded the Democratic nomination to Obama, also spoke to AIPAC.

Reid, who has not yet endorsed Obama, praised the Illinois senator's legislation to impose "severe costs on Iran for its reckless choices."

Reid called for more U.S. military aid to Israel to maintain its arms advantage over other Middle East nations.

"These steps will send a clear message: America will never permit Israel's existence to be threatened," he said.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau reporter Tony Batt at or 202-783-1760.