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Iran rebuffs Clinton remarks on demos

world Updated: Feb 15, 2011 15:05 IST

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Iran on Tuesday rebuffed US secretary of state Hillary Clinton who hailed the "courage" of anti-government protesters whose demonstration in Tehran left one person dead.

"The comments made by American officials these days emanate from confusion and distraction due to the changes in the region," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters in apparent reference to Clinton.

"The changes have inflicted a blow to the interest of the dominating powers and the backers of the Zionist regime. By making such diversive comments they try to dismiss the issue."

Arch-foes Iran and the United States have engaged in war of words since the ouster of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, with Tehran calling his fall a "defeat" of US and Israel and Washington hoping protests in Cairo could spread to Tehran.

On Monday, Clinton praised the protesters on Tehran streets.

"We wish the opposition and the brave people in the streets across cities in Iran the same opportunity that they saw their Egyptian counterparts seize in the last week," she said.

"We support the universal rights of the Iranian people. They deserve to have the same rights" as those demanded by protesters who helped oust Mubarak "and that are part of their own birthright."

She also renewed her push for the free and open use of the Internet as protesters from Egypt to Iran have used it to demand political freedoms.

Foreign media were banned from on-the-spot coverage of Monday's protests, just as they were barred in the aftermath of the June 2009 presidential election when protests against the government first erupted.

But Mehmanparast said people in the region wanted freedom from US interference.

"The changes the people in the region want are that big powers must stop interfering in their affairs and cutting of dependence on America and the Zionist regime and their allies," he said.

One person was killed in Monday's protests, while nine members of security forces were wounded, police said, blaming the unrest on an outlawed group.