Hillary Clinton speaking to press.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday urged the people of Iran to reject what she said is an expansion of the Iranian military's role and power.
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Clinton said Washington is increasingly concerned about the rise of military power in Iran, the main US adversary in the Middle East.
In an interview for broadcast Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Clinton said many Iranians are also worried and she hopes they find a way to head off the military drift.
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, Clinton said no meetings with Iranian officials were planned but that she would be discussing the matter next week when leaders from around the world gather in New York for the UN General Assembly.
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.
Shroud headed home to the US on Saturday, but the other two — her fiance
Shane Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal — remain jailed in Teheran.
"I just can't even imagine how painful the experience that they themselves have had inside prison," Clinton said.
Clinton, who has met with the mothers of the hikers, said she hoped to see Bauer and Fattal released as well.
The three were detained by Iranian security forces in July 2009 near the Iraqi border and were accused of being American spies.