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Clinton slams Iran as major exporter of terror

By Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "well aware" of Iran's interest in promoting itself.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "well aware" of Iran's interest in promoting itself.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Secretary of State responds to a question from a Latin American audience
  • Hillary Clinton is "well aware" of Iran's interest in promoting itself with Venezuela, Bolivia
  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates tells troops he expects sanctions on Iran
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Washington (CNN) -- With signs of growing international support for pressure on Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lashed out at Tehran and the Revolutionary Guard military corps Friday, calling the country "the major supporter, promoter and exporter of terrorism in the world today."

Clinton, responding to a question from a Latin American audience at the State Department about growing Iranian influence in Latin America, said Iran's Revolutionary Guard "is increasing its control over the country because of the elections which were a stark example of the abuse of human rights in action."

The Revolutionary Guard, she said, "is deeply involved in the economy as well as the security issues of Iran. And I think if people want to flirt with Iran, they should take a look at what the consequences might well be for them, and we hope that they will think twice, and we are going to support them if they do."

Clinton said she was "well aware" of Iran's interest in promoting itself with a number of other countries, naming Venezuela and Bolivia specifically.

"We can only say that, that is a really bad idea for the countries involved," she said.

Clinton's comments came on the same day Defense Secretary Robert Gates told U.S. troops in Iraq, "I think you are going to see some significant additional sanctions imposed by the international community" against Iran.

Thursday at the United Nations, the United States and other countries strongly criticized Iran for not complying with U.N. Security Council resolutions and accused it of shipping arms and ammunition to Syria.

The European Union has said it would support action by the U.N. Security Council if Iran continues to refuse to cooperate with the international community over its nuclear program. "The European Union stands ready to take the necessary steps," the EU said in a statement.

In September Iran revealed the existence of a previously secret nuclear facility it had been building. It has allowed U.N. inspectors to visit that facility.

Iran also is refusing to abide by a proposed compromise with the U.N.'s atomic energy agency to ship most of its low-enriched uranium out of the country for reprocessing. Such a step would not leave enough nuclear material in Iran for the Iranians to build a nuclear weapon, according to those involved in the proposal.

Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes.

 
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