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Today's Top News
In War of Words, Iran Calls US a 'Military Dictatorship'
Locked in a sharpening confrontation with the United States, Iran on Tuesday rejected an assertion by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that it was becoming a military dictatorship, saying America itself answered to that description.
The foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, "raised questions about the United States military dictatorship in the region," the English-language Press TV broadcaster said, accusing Washington of practicing "modern deceit" and using "fake words" to disguise its intentions in the Persian Gulf area.
On Monday, Mrs. Clinton said Washington fears that Iran is drifting toward a military dictatorship with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps assuming ever greater political, military and economic power.
But, in Tehran on Tuesday, Mr. Mottaki said: "We are regretful that the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tries to conceal facts about the stance of the U.S. administration through fake words," Press TV said.
Mr. Mottaki was speaking at a news conference alongside his visiting Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu.
He also accused Washington of interfering in the internal affairs of other states, by undermining their "scientific and technological achievements," an apparent reference to Iran's nuclear program which the United States and its allies suspect is designed to build nuclear weapons. Iran says the program is for peaceful purposes permitted under international law.
"Those who have been the very symbol of military dictatorships over the past decades, since the Vietnam war until now, see everyone else in the same way," The Associated Press quoted Mr. Mottaki as saying. Mrs. Clinton's current visit to the region, he said, was "overflowing with contradictions and incorrect actions."
On Monday, Mrs. Clinton encouraged Iran's religious and political leaders to rise up against the Revolutionary Guards, coming as close as any senior administration official has to inviting political upheaval in the country. She chose to issue the call in Doha, Qatar, just across the waters of the Persian Gulf from Iran itself.
"We see that the government of Iran, the supreme leader, the president, the Parliament is being supplanted and that Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship," Mrs. Clinton said.
Her visit was seen as part of the Obama administration's attempt to shore up support for more stringent sanctions directed at the Revolutionary Guard Corps. But Mr. Mottaki urged Russia and China not to follow Washington's lead, The A.P. said.
While China has offered steady resistance to the idea of stricter sanctions against Iran, which supplies oil to Beijing, Russia's stance has seemed slightly more ambivalent. News reports Tuesday quoted a Kremlin spokesman as urging Iran to ally international fears about its nuclear program if it wished to avoid tougher penalties imposed by the United Nations Security Council.