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Hillary Clinton: Iran Is 'Trying to Hijack' Mid-East Revolutions

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"Everyone is aware."

The Associated Press:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday accused Iran of trying to hijack democratic revolutions around the Mideast and warned Arab nations not to permit intolerance against women and religious minorities.

Clinton said Iran was clearly trying to use uprisings around the region to further its own goals and foment broader unrest while at the same time cracking down on its own reform movement.

"I think that that everyone is aware if its efforts to exploit and even hijack what are legitimate protests. But certainly in an era of instant communication we hope that people will not be fooled by their tactics."

Clinton said the U.S. sees "no evidence yet that Iran instigated such protests but we do see activities by Iran to try to take advantage of these uprisings."

Clinton also warned that rising intolerance toward women and religious minorities threatens to undermine democratic transitions around the Arab world and spread violent extremism.

The Wall Street Journal confirms this (and the Journal has a nice video report to go with the story which explains why the U.S. is more worried about Iranian intervention in the Mid-East revolutions, but not as worried about Saudi Arabia's meddling in nearby protests):

Iran is secretly helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad put down pro-democracy demonstrations, according to U.S. officials, who say Tehran is providing gear to suppress crowds and assistance blocking and monitoring protesters' use of the Internet, cellphones and text-messaging.

At the same time, communications intercepted by U.S. spy agencies show Tehran is actively exploring ways to aid some Shiite hardliners in Bahrain and Yemen and destabilize longstanding U.S. allies there, say U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence. Such moves could challenge interests of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and inflame sectarian tensions across the Middle East, they say.

"We believe that Iran is materially assisting the Syrian government in its efforts to suppress their own people," said an Obama administration official.

Read the Journal story here.

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