Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for an end to violence in Bahrain and for the government there to move towards democratic reform.
But she declined to hold Bahrain to the same standard that the Obama administration held Egypt to during the 18 days of protests there.
She warned, speaking generally about the Middle East, that there were dangers in the transition to democracy and that the process could be hijacked.
In an exclusive interview with "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour taped on Friday, Iran loomed large in Clinton's view of democratic transition. She twice used Iran's 1979 revolution as an example of how a people's movement could result in a non-democratic government.
Clinton pressed for an end to all violence in Bahrain, where government forces left more than 50 people injured on Friday alone, according to The Associated Press.
Amanpour asked her if Bahrain was stable.
While declining to characterize the stability of the Persian Gulf state, Clinton told Amanpour, "We've been very clear from the beginning, that we do not want to see any violence. We deplore it. We think it is absolutely unacceptable. We very much want to see the human rights of the people protected including right to assemble, right to express themselves and we want to see reform. And so Bahrain had started on some reform and we want to see them get back to that as quickly as possible."
On Jan. 25, in the midst of protests in Egypt, Clinton said, "our assessment is that the Egyptian Government is stable."
Later, on January 30 in an appearance on "This Week," she did not answer whether Egypt was still stable.
In the interview Friday, Amanpour asked her if the United States will hold Bahrain to the same standard it held Egypt to during 18 days of protests there: The White House strongly condemned violence in Egypt and called for transition from the Mubarak regime "now."
"We try to hold everyone to a similar standard," Clinton replied, "but we cannot dictate the outcomes. We cannot tell countries what they're going to do. We had, you know, no control over what happened in Egypt. We expressed our opinion as we went along and were working with our Egyptian counterparts so that their transition is peaceful, meaningful, transparent, produces results.
"With Bahrain, as they move toward greater reform, which we have consistently encouraged, recommended and urged, we're going to be supporting that and we will speak out where we see them violating human rights and using violence inappropriately," the secretary said.
Clinton had taken a much stronger tone with Egypt after days of protest, calling directly for a "transition" to democratic elections.
Amanpour pressed Clinton on what the consequences might be from the United States if Bahrain continued to violently crack down on protestors.
"You know, Christiane, you know, we have been very clear about what we expect. And we want to see transparency, accountability," Clinton said. "We deplore violence and we expect that the government will take the steps necessary to try to restore confidence, to reach out and continue the path of reform that they were on."