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Clinton backs protesters in Iran, praises Egypt’s military


Washington : US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Monday said the US stood behind anti-government protesters in Iran and praised the Egyptian military for its initial steps since taking control of Egypt last week.

“What we’re seeing in Iran today is a testament to the courage of the Iranian people,” Clinton said after a meeting with Republican lawmakers in Washington, according to congressional newspaper The Hill. “We wish the opposition and brave people in the streets the same opportunity that they saw their Egyptian counterparts seize in the last week.”

Thousands of Iranians protested Monday in Tehran, apparently energised by the wave of massive protests that toppled Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak last week.

On Sunday, the US State Department debuted a Twitter feed in Farsi, aimed at Iranians. USAdarFarsi, as the page is called, garnered more than 2,000 followers within hours of its launch, during which it posted several tweets comparing Iran’s policies unfavourably with developments in Egypt.

“Iran has shown that the activities it praised Egyptians for it sees as illegal, illegitimate for its own people,” said one message, while another read “US calls on Iran to allow people to enjoy same universal rights to peacefully assemble, demonstrate as in Cairo.”

Mubarak Friday handed power to the military, which has promised to run a transitional government until elections in September. Clinton said the military’s initial moves had been “reassuring”, but said there was “a long way to go.”

“This is a very challenging moment for the Egyptian military,” Clinton said. “I would say, so far, they have demonstrated a seriousness of purpose.”