Clinton: Iran Backing Syria Crackdown on Protesters

The U.S. secretary of state appeals to the international community not to forget Iran's violent repression of anti-government protesters in 2009.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the international community on Tuesday to renew its resolve to stand with "the citizens of Syria and Iran, who yearn to be free and to exercise their universal rights."

In statement released by the U.S. Department of State, Clinton drew comparisons between the actions of Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria with those of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, particularly during protests after the 2009 elections in Iran.

Hillary Clinton AP 29.11.2010

"Two years ago this week, Iranian citizens went to the polls in the hopes of expressing their democratic rights. But the authorities in Tehran had no interest in the will of the people. When the people reached for their aspirations, the government responded with brutal repression," the statement said.

Clinton went on to say that repression in Iran still continues, and accused Ahmadinejad's regime of "supporting the Assad regime’s vicious assaults on peaceful protesters and military actions against its own cities" in Syria today.

"The world was shocked by images of a 13-year-old Syrian boy, tortured and mutilated by Syrian security forces. It reminded us of a young Iranian woman, killed in the street two years ago for all to see," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Syrian troops using tanks and helicopters pushed towards a northern town on Tuesday after arresting hundreds of people in villages near Jisr al-Shughour, residents said, as more refugees fled to Turkey.