Clinton: “I wouldn’t know a Twitter from a tweeter” & Iran Protests US Meddling

Jun 17, 2009 5:54pm

ABC News' Kirit Radia reports: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is fighting for Iranians' right to tweet, but by her own admission she knows little about how the micro blogging site works. "I wouldn't know a Twitter from a tweeter," she conceded this afternoon at a press conference with her Israeli counterpart. Despite her acknowledged novice, Clinton recognized that the website has played a role in allowing Iranians to bypass official filters and organize against what many in the Islamic Republic regard as a fraudulent election last Friday in which hardline incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defeated relatively-reformist challenger Mir Hossain Mousavi. "The United States believes passionately and strongly in the basic principle of free expression," Clinton told reporters today. "And it is the case that one of the means of expression, the use of Twitter, is a very important one, not only to the Iranian people but now increasingly to people around the world, and most particularly young people," she added. "I think keeping that line of communications open and enabling people to share information, particularly at a time when there was not many other sources of information, is an important expression of the right to speak out and to be able to organize that we value." Earlier this week, a State Department official asked that Twitter delay scheduled of the site for maintenance because it would shutdown the service during daylight hours in Iran at the height of the political fervor there. Though the Obama administration initially denied it reached out to Twitter, it admitted doing so today. The act drew the ire of Iran's government, which accused the US today of meddling in Iran's affairs. The Swiss ambassador to Tehran, who represents US interests in the country in the absence of an American embassy, was called into the Iranian Foreign Ministry to hear a formal complaint. Other countries' ambassadors were also called as Iranian authorities blamed the unrest on foreign media inciting the masses. The US immediately rejected the accusations. "It's hard to see that this, you know, can be construed as interference. In fact, Twitter is a tool that allows all Iranians to communicate. It isn't about just one group or another. In fact, you know, there are reports, I think, in the media that the government itself, you know, uses Twitter," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs PJ Crowley told reporters today. More broadly, the US has walked a fine line trying not to be seen as siding with one side or the other, despite public clashes with President Ahmadinejad in the past, while also demanding accountability in the election. "The people of Iran deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted. The outcome of any election should reflect the will of the people. And it is for the Iranians to determine how they resolve this internal protest concerning the outcome of the recent election, but it is a fundamental value that the United States holds with respect to free and fair and credible elections," Clinton said today.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus