Syria and Iran are close allies, as is demonstrated once again by Iran's support for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in the face of anti-government demonstrations that have spread across Syria.
Iranian leaders echo the Syrians' description of protesters who are demanding their freedom as being instigated by foreign enemies, including the so-called "Zionist entity."
After saying virtually nothing for weeks about the Syrian demonstrations, yet hailing the anti-government protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain, the Iranian government broadcast reports of Syrian "agitators" who confessed their purported perfidy on television –- a tactic often used by Iran itself, particularly after the massive pro-democracy rallies and government crackdown that followed Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States is "watching very closely what Iran is doing in the region. ... We hear Iran praising the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, except it doesn’t praise what happens inside Iran, and it doesn't praise what is happening in Syria," said Secretary of State Clinton. "It is a further example of the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime. And we want people in the region to understand that the Iranian Government's motive here is to destabilize countries, not assist them in their democratic transitions. ... After all," she said, "their 1979 revolution was derailed, and it has unfortunately evolved into a totalitarian state where the government is trying to control the thoughts, the speech, the actions of the citizens on every front."
Secretary of State Clinton said that the U.S. "invite[s] Iran to change its tactics, including its treatment of its own citizens." As for Syria, the U.S. calls on Syrian authorities to cease their violence against their own people. "The arbitrary arrests, the detentions, the reports of torture of prisoners must end now," said Secretary Clinton. "It is time for the Syrian Government to stop repressing their citizens and start responding to their aspirations."