Washington: The US on Sunday expressed hope
that "responsible" leaders will take control in Iran,
signalling that Washington seeks a regime change in Tehran,
even as it said it is still open for diplomatic engagement.
"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," Secretary of State,
Hillary Clinton told ABC News.
"We still remain open to that diplomacy. But it`s been
very clear that the Iranians don`t want to engage with us,"
The United States, which recently imposed tough
economic sanctions against Iran, has also been instrumental in
taking the other nations taking similar steps.
The US is at loggerheads with the regime of Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over Tehran`s controversial
nuclear programme and his anti-Israel stand.
"Think the sanctions that have been endorsed and now
are being implemented by the international community, you
know, demonstrates our engagement, because, we`ve said to the
Iranians all along, we have two tracks.
We have the pressure track, and we have the
engagement, diplomatic track," Clinton said.
"Sanctions are a tool; they`re not an end in
themselves. We would very much like to see Iran return to the
P5-plus-one forum where they were last present a year ago
October to talk about their nuclear programme.
We would like to see them once again permit full IAEA
inspections," she said.
The United States has made it very clear that it
supported the legitimate efforts of the Iranian people to
protest and demonstrate against a flawed election.
"We made it very clear to the Iranians that we
thought that they had not only conducted an illegitimate
election, but counter to their own stated and professed laws
So we made it very clear," she said.
"But we also knew that the worst thing for those
protesting was for them to be seen as stooges of the United
So, again, what we`ve tried to do is to stand up for
the human rights of every person, most particularly those
brave Iranians, you know, lawyers and activists and others,
who are standing up and saying to the regime, no, you have to
fulfil the promises you yourselves have made about what we
should expect, without undermining their efforts," Clinton
Now, it`s very delicate and some days we get it right,
and some days maybe we could do better, she said.
But our bottom line is, you know, we think the Iranian
people deserve so much more than what they are now being
given. And we are worried about the direction we see Iran
headed, she added.
Clinton said the information that the US is 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.
This is making it more costly, she added.
We would like to see them taking the offer that has
been made by us and others to talk about a broad range of
issues, like their support for terrorism, Hamas, Hezbollah. So
we stand ready to engage with Iran.
And that`s really the message that I would like to
send to the Iranians, is that, you know, there`s a way out of
There`s a way out of increasing opprobrium from the
international community," Clinton said.
"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.
And so we think that now is the time for the Iranian
leadership to engage seriously," Clinton said.
The Secretary of State said the US is very concerned
that Iran is moving towards a military rule.
"I`m concerned about what I see going on. I am, of
course, grateful and appreciative that Sarah was released and
want to see not only her two compatriots, but other Americans
who are held without cause released, as well.
And we are concerned about the nuclear programme,"
"What we also see happening is increasing power
exercised by the military, by the Revolutionary Guard, and by
other militia and military entities.
I know that that`s a concern of people inside Iran,
as we read reports coming out of Iran.
It is something that would be even more distressing
for the Iranian people," Clinton said.
"I have grave disagreements with the Iranian
revolution, but the early advocates of it said this would be a
republic, it would be an Islamic republic, but it would be a
Then we saw a very flawed election, and we`ve seen
the elected officials turn to the military to enforce their
power," Clinton said.