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Iran trying to influence uprisings in West Asia

Last Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 13:04

Washington: The US on Thursday accused Iran of
trying to "influence" a series of uprisings in the West Asia
through its "proxies" like Hezbollah and Hamas, as it said
that Tehran is involved with the opposition movements in
Bahrain and Yemen.

"Either directly or through proxies, they are
constantly trying to influence events. They have a very active
diplomatic foreign policy outreach," US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.
"We know that, through their proxy, Hezbollah and
Lebanon, they are using Hezbollah -- which is a political
party with an armed wing to communicate with counterparts in
Egypt, in Hamas who then, in turn, communicate with
counterparts in Egypt.

We know that they are reaching out to the opposition
in Bahrain. We know that the Iranians are very much involved
in the opposition movements in Yemen," she said.

Clinton said the US is delivering on the aid that
these countries are seeking without looking as though the
Americans are trying to take over their revolution is the

"But it`s also the challenge for the Iranians.
You know, they don`t have a lot of friends, but they`re trying
to curry more friends. So it`s a constant effort on our part.

I have to have the resources and the flexibility to
be able to move people around and try to figure out the best
way for us to be successful," she said.
We were also not only conscious of but advised by
people from within and outside of Iran that it was very
important for them not to be seen as though they were in any
way directed by, affiliated with the US, Clinton added.

That this needed to be viewed as an indigenous Iranian
movement, she said.

"I think we struck the right balance. But obviously,
what we have seen in the year and a half or so since is the
brutality of the Iranian regime; its absolute commitment to
repressing any kind of opposition.

And I have been upping, certainly, you know, my
rhetoric. We have under the legislation passed by the Congress
the ability to designate human rights abusers.

We`ve been using that very dramatically," she said.

Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the a subcommittee
of the Senate Appropriations Committee said that in many ways
it`s hard to see how the government of Iran doesn`t come out
stronger as a result of all this upheaval, and that concerns
everybody here.

"I think the US should be a strong voice for people
living under repressive, corrupt regimes who are demanding the
freedoms we often take for granted.

The support we need in countering terrorism around the
world," Leahy said.


First Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 13:04
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