Clinton: U.S. Seeks More Interaction with Iranian People

Posted October 26th, 2011 at 11:50 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told VOA that she believes the government of Iran is a dictatorship and said the United States wants to assure Iranians that their aspirations for freedom are legitimate.

She spoke to VOA's Persian News Network Wednesday and addressed the Iranian people directly. She said the United States hopes to open a “virtual embassy in Tehran” online by the end of the year. She said America would very much like to improve relations with Iranians and encouraged Iranian students to “come and study in the United States.” And she said Washington seeks to provide tools that allow Iranians to circumvent the “electronic curtain” she says Iran has imposed on communications online.

In the interview for the popular Parazit program, Clinton said U.N. sanctions placed on Iran because of its nuclear program are meant to “influence and hopefully change the behavior of the regime.” She said it is “abundantly clear” that the government is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The sanctions are necessary, Clinton said, but are not meant to impose suffering on the Iranian people.

She went on to say the international community also is trying to negotiate with Iran about its nuclear program.

Clinton also said the U.S. has “very strong evidence” about an alleged plot by an Iranian American to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. She called the plot shocking, and said Washington hopes Iran will turn over a second suspect, who is a member of Iran's elite Quds military force.

She also said the U.S. has seen what she called a “disturbing trend” of members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards force taking over certain economic enterprises, moving toward what she called “a more military takeover, in effect, in Iran.”