Washington: Iran is morphing into a
military dictatorship, US Secretary of State today warned,
even as she underlined Washington's determination to step up
international pressure on Tehran to negotiate seriously on its
controversial nuclear programme.
"I don't think there's any doubt that Iran is morphing
into a military dictatorship with a sort of religious
ideological veneer," Hillary Clinton said at the Council on
Foreign Relations, a Washington-based think-tank.
"It is becoming the province of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard and in concert with some of the clerical
and political leadership," she said.
Responding to a question after she delivered a major
foreign policy speech at think-tank, the Secretary said the US
is stepping up international pressure on Iran to negotiate
seriously on its nuclear programme.
She said Iran is under tremendous pressure following
recent sanctions against it by the UN, the US and other
countries of the world.
"Early returns from implementation of the sanctions
are that they're feeling the economic effects. We would hope
that that would lead them to reconsider their positions, not
only with respect to nuclear weapons but, frankly, the export
of terrorism," she underlined.
She accused Iran of assisting Hezbollah and Hamas and
trying to destabilise many countries in the region and beyond,
"where they have provided support and funding for terrorist
activities as far away as Argentina".
"So I think that there is a very sad confluence of
events occurring inside Iran that I think eventually -- but I
can't put a time frame on it -- the Iranian people themselves
will respond to," she said. "
Noting that Iran is beginning to feel the impact of
these sanctions, she said beyond what governments are doing,
the international financial and commercial sectors are also
starting to recognise the risks of doing business with Iran.
"Sanctions and pressures, however, are not ends in
themselves. They are the building blocks of leverage for a
negotiated solution to which we and our partners remain
committed," Clinton said.
The top US diplomat said the choice for Iran's leaders
is clear, and they have to decide whether they accept their
obligations, or increasing isolation and the costs that come
"And we will see how Iran decides," Clinton said.
First Published: Thursday, September 09, 2010, 00:28