Iran's foreign minister hit back on Tuesday against U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's warning that the Islamic republic is becoming a military dictatorship.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki retorted that it is the United States that has become a military dictatorship, pointing to its wars in Vietnam through Iraq and Afghanistan. He criticized Clinton's Mideast tour, which took her to Saudi Arabia on Monday, saying it was "overflowing with contradictions and incorrect actions."
"Those who have been the very symbol of military dictatorship over the past decades, since the Vietnam War until now, see everyone else in the same way," Mottaki said at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu.
Clinton's comments a day earlier reflected Washington's increasingly pessimistic outlook for persuading Iran to negotiate limits on its nuclear program, which the U.S. believes is aimed at producing a bomb. Clinton warned that the elite Revolutionary Guard's growing influence in Iran was pushing the country into military dictatorship.
Mottaki repeated Iran's stance that its nuclear program is peaceful and "absolutely legitimate." He said Clinton's remarks were based on "inappropriate interpretations."
He also implicitly urged China and Russia to resist U.S. efforts to persuade them to back further U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, warning them not to follow Washington's lead.
"It is clear for our Chinese friends that the U.S plans to have upper hand in Africa once it dominates the Middle East's energy resources," he said, referring to Beijing's widespread influence in Africa.
He also said Iran would increase its economic cooperation with Moscow if it chooses "correct and logical" stances toward Iran.
Russia and China have been key economic partners of Iran and have resisted harsh sanctions against it.
Mottaki also denied a report Monday on a semi-official Iranian news agency that the U.S., Russia and France had sent a new proposal to Iran on providing fuel to Tehran nuclear research reactor. Mottaki said the report was incorrect. All three countries also denied the report.
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