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Monday
Feb142011

Clinton Praises Iran Protests, Raises Alarm Over Budget Cuts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauded news from Iran that thousands of protesters demonstrated there Monday, demanding change, and compared the situation to Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak was thrown out of power last week after more than 30 years.

"We support the universal human rights of the Iranian people," Clinton said. "They deserve to have the same rights that they saw being played out in Egypt and that are part of their own birthright, and…we think that there needs to be a commitment to open up the political system in Iran, to hear the voices of the opposition in civil society." Clinton said she wanted to "very clearly and directly support the aspirations of the people who are in the streets." She maintained that the U.S. is against violence and that the demonstrations there are a testament to the courage of the Iranian people and an indictment on the Iranian regime.

As for Egypt itself, where protesters last week forced President Hosni Mubarak out of office, resulting in the military taking control of the country, Clinton said the U.S. will help the military in any way it can.

She said that the steps that the Egyptian military has taken since taking control are "reassuring" and that the U.S. is ready to assist them.

"The ongoing dialogue between our defense and military leadership with theirs has been very fruitful and I expect it to continue," Clinton said.

Clinton spoke with reporters after meeting with House Speaker John Boehner about funding for the State Department. The secretary said she told Boehner about her "deep concerns" over the budget cuts her department will face, in the near-term in the House GOP's proposal to fund the government through September, and it's call for further cuts in the next full fiscal year. She called the scope of the cuts "massive" and "detrimental to America's national security."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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