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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Clinton: Iran's Revolutionary Guard Gaining Power

VOA News 16 February 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is focusing its sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps because it is increasingly involved in security, political and economic decisions.

In an interview with VOA Tuesday, Clinton said Iran is becoming a more belligerent and repressive nation as the Revolutionary Guard increases its influence.

Clinton suggested the power shift from clerical and political leaders to the Revolutionary Guard may stem from the inner turmoil that resulted from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election last June.

On the nuclear issue, Secretary Clinton said the United States will never remove its "outstretched hand," but she added Iran must "unclench" its fist.

She said world powers have agreed to pressure Iran on its nuclear program and seek sanctions.

Clinton spoke at the end of her tour of Persian Gulf states, where she sought to gain support from U.S. allies for tougher sanctions on Iran.

On the Middle East peace process, Clinton said it is imperative to remain optimistic about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She said both sides have so much at stake, they will eventually realize it is in their best interest to return to the negotiating table.

Referring to Israeli's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Clinton said no matter how conservative an Israeli leader started out in office, he or she eventually comes to realize that dialogue is in Israel's national interest.

Clinton added Palestinians also recognize that refusing to negotiate and leaving a power vacuum only invites violence.

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