Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed the hope that "responsible" leaders will take control in Iran, in an interview to be aired on Sunday.
"And I can only hope that there will be some effort inside Iran, by responsible civil and religious leaders, to take hold of the apparatus of the state," Hillary told ABC News, according to a transcript made public here.
Hillary said the military, the Revolutionary Guard and other militia and military entities were increasingly wielding power.
"And I know that that's a concern of people inside Iran," she noted. "We read reports coming out of Iran. And it is something that would be even more distressing for the Iranian people."
Hillary said the most recent elections in Iran were "very flawed" and as a result elected officials were now turning to the military to enforce their power.
"And there should be a way out of this takeover of their political system and a threat to their dual system of elected and clerical leadership, because when you empower a military as much as they have to rely on them to put down legitimate protests and demonstrations, you create a momentum and unleash forces that you do not know where they will end up," said the secretary of state.
According to Hillary, many Iranians, even those who were originally sympathetic to the Islamic government, were starting to disagree with the system.
"So we are very much in favour of and speaking out on behalf of individual cases and more generally the human political civil rights of Iranians."
Hillary said the administration of President Barack Obama was trying to be effective in trying to help those inside Iran, adding she had meetings with Iranian experts.
The secretary of state also praised the international economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN Security Council in June, saying they were "biting”.
"And we hear that from many in the region and beyond," she said. "And in fact the information we're getting is that the Iranian regime is quite worried about the impact on their banking system, on their economic growth because they've already encountered some tough economic times. And this is, you know, making it more costly."
Hillary said the United States wanted Iran to return to the "P5 Plus One" forum to talk about their nuclear program and permit full International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of its nuclear facilities.
A US official said diplomats from six world powers that monitor Iran's nuclear program would meet this coming week in New York, just over three months after the latest UN Security Council sanctions on Iran's controversial nuclear program.
The six powers are the five permanent UN Security Council members -- the United States, China, France, Britain and Russia -- plus Germany.
Iran is suspected of planning to build a nuclear weapon, something Tehran strongly denies.
First Published: Sunday, September 19, 2010, 14:24