WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday that the United States did a lot “behind the scenes” to show support for demonstrators contesting Iran’s disputed presidential election results.
“We did not want to get between the legitimate protests and demonstrations of the Iranian people and the leadership,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN broadcast on Sunday.“And we knew that if we stepped in too soon, too hard… the leadership would try to use us to unify the country against the protestors.”
“Now, behind the scenes, we were doing a lot,” Clinton said. “We were doing a lot to really empower the protestors without getting in the way. And we’re continuing to speak out and support the opposition.”
Clinton was asked about the case of Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist detained in Iran since June 21 on allegations he helped orchestrate protests against the election results that saw Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad returned to power.
The top US diplomat said she was “just appalled at the treatment that Mr Bahari and others are receiving.”She described the trial Bahari faces as “a show trial,” saying the process is “a sign of weakness.”
“It demonstrates, I think, better than any of us could ever say, that this Iranian leadership is afraid of their own people, and afraid of the truth and the facts coming out,” Clinton said. The secretary of state reiterated that the United States believes it would be “unacceptable” for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.
“If they believe that this would give them a more secure position, a greater capacity to influence events, to intimidate their neighbors, to expand the reach of their ideology, they were mistaken,” she said. “We do not intend to accept nuclear weapons by Iran.”