- Associated Press - Sunday, September 19, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is urging the people of Iran to reject what she says is an expansion of the Iranian military’s role and power.

The United States, Mrs. Clinton said, is increasingly concerned about the rise of military power in Iran, the main U.S. adversary in the Middle East.

In an interview for broadcast Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Mrs. Clinton said many Iranians also are worried and she hopes they find a way to head off the military drift.

Mrs. Clinton said she has “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 republic. Then we saw a very flawed election, and we’ve seen the elected officials turn for the military to enforce their power,” she said.

She said that many Iranians, even those who were originally sympathetic to the revolution, are starting to have serious second thoughts about the direction their government has taken.

Without elaborating, she said, “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.”

On the question of Iran’s controversial nuclear ambitions, Mrs. Clinton said no meetings with Iranian officials currently were planned but that she would be discussing the matter next week when leaders from around the world gather in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

Mrs. Clinton also expressed “great relief” for the release of Sarah Shroud, one of the three American hikers held for more than a year in an Iranian prison.

Ms. Shourd arrived in the United States on Sunday, but the other two — her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal — remain jailed in Tehran.

“I just can’t even imagine how painful the experience that they themselves have had inside prison,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Mrs. Clinton, who has met with the mothers of the hikers, said she hoped to see Mr. Bauer and Mr. Fattal released as well.

The three were detained by Iranian security forces in July 2009 near the Iraqi border and accused of being American spies.

 

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