Hillary Clinton: Iran needs to follow Egypt’s lead and ‘open up’
WASHINGTON – Amidst a new wave of protests in Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday accused the Iranian government of “hypocrisy,” saying it must listen to the wishes of its demonstrators.
“What we see happening in Iran today is a testament to the courage of the Iranian people, and an indictment of the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime — a regime which over the last three weeks has constantly hailed what went on in Egypt,” Clinton told reporters.
“We wish the opposition and the brave people in the streets across cities in Iran the same opportunities that they saw their Egyptian counterparts seize.”
Iranian opposition protesters took part in a banned march to support the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings that overthrew their governments. They reported Monday on a website that dozens were arrested.
“Let me, clearly and directly, support the aspirations of the people who are in the streets in Iran today,” Clinton said.
Unlike in Egypt, where now-resigned autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak was a friend to the US, American officials seemingly feel freer to denounce the regime and side firmly with the reform movement.
Widespread protests broke out in Iran in 2009, when many were killed, but the Iranian regime held power after a controversial election that fueled the belief that the government was illegitimate.
A witness told Reuters that Iranian security forces used tear gas to scatter and intimidate the demonstrators. The regime’s security apparatus has been forceful in cracking down on even peaceful dissent since the unsuccessful uprising of 2009.
Clinton called for a more “open” society in Iran.
“We think that there needs to be a commitment to open up the political system in Iran to hear the voices of the opposition and civil society,” she said.