Secretary Clinton Expresses Concern over Growing Military Influence in Iran

The Secretary of State sits down for an exclusive interview on 'This Week'

ByABC News
September 19, 2010, 8:26 AM

— -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern over the rising influence of the military in Iran. In an exclusive interview with "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour, Clinton said, "We saw a very flawed election and we've seen the elected officials turn for the military to enforce their power." Clinton added, "I can only hope that there will be some effort inside Iran, by responsible civil and religious leaders to take hold of the apparatus of the state."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a separate interview with Amanpour, flatly rejected the suggestion that his regime is becoming militarized. "Don't you think that Ms. Clinton should think a little before she makes statements of such nature? I think Ms. Clinton is a very respected woman but she should really gather more correct information to base her statements on accurate information," he said.

Ahmadinejad sat down for the exclusive wide-ranging interview with Amanpour on Saturday evening, shortly after arriving in New York for this week's United Nations General Assembly meetings.

Amanpour pressed the Iranian president on whether he would intervene to release two American hikers who remain in Iranian custody and are accused of spying. A third hiker, Sarah Shourd was released Tuesday after more than a year of being detained in what Ahmadinejad called a "huge humanitarian gesture." For the remaining hikers, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, Ahmadinejad said it's a matter for the judicial system, but he appeared to have already rendered a verdict. "They violated the law. Do you want violators to be released? Is that what you are asking me?"