News / Middle East

Clinton Says Iran Seeks to 'Hijack' Mideast Protests

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, during a press conference at the US Embassy in Berlin, Germany, April 15, 2011
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, during a press conference at the US Embassy in Berlin, Germany, April 15, 2011

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Friday accused Iran of trying to exploit and hijack democracy protests in the Middle East and North Africa. Clinton spoke at the end of a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Berlin focusing on Libya and regional unrest.

In her strongest comments on the subject to date, Clinton is accusing Iran of hypocritically trying to align itself with popular uprisings in some North African and Middle Eastern states, while trying to thwart democracy movements at home and in its key ally Syria.

Speaking in Berlin a day after the State Department said Iran was materially aiding political repression by Syria, Clinton said there is no evidence Iran has instigated Middle East protests, but said Iran is trying to "take advantage" of the turmoil.

"They are trying to exploit unrest. They are trying to advance their agenda in neighboring countries. They continue to try to undermine peace and stability to provoke further conflict," said Clinton. "And we want people in the region to understand that the Iranian government’s motive here is to destabilize countries, not to assist them in their democratic transitions."

Clinton said Iran’s silence on anti-government  protests in Syria is a further example of "hypocrisy" by Tehran and said in an era of instant communication, no one is fooled by Iranian tactics.

The Wall Street Journal  Thursday quoted U.S. officials as saying Iran is sending Syria crowd-control gear along with help in blocking and monitoring Syrian protestors' use of the Internet, cell phones and text-messaging.

The State Department declined detailed comment on the report, but said there is "credible evidence" of material Iranian assistance for the government in Damascus.

On Syria, Clinton called on the government of President Bashar al-Assad to refrain from further violence and to, in her words, "stop repressing their citizens" and to allow in human rights monitors and journalists to verify what is happening on the ground.

Syria, controlled by President al-Assad and his late father since 1970, has been hit by unprecedented unrest since mid-March with demonstrators demanding reform and an end to emergency rule.

The monitoring group Human Rights Watch said Friday that Syrian security and intelligence services have arbitrarily detained hundreds of protestors across the country, subjecting them to torture and other ill treatment.

The New York-based group said security agents also have arrested lawyers, journalists and others who have endorsed the protests.

It said Assad, who has spoken of the need for reforms, should rein in security forces and hold them accountable for abuses and that there can be no real reform while protestors are abused with impunity.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid