Iran is reacting sharply to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks that the Persian state is becoming a military dictatorship. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accuses Clinton of spreading "lies" and the United States of turning the region into a so-called "arms depot."
But several Washington-based analysts on Iran back Clinton's assertions.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard was formed in 1979 to protect the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution from the Shah's army.
Now U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Guard is leaving Iran vulnerable to proposed U.S. sanctions against Iran for pressing ahead with its uranium enrichment program. Clinton spoke to VOA during her recent visit to the Persian Gulf.
"It appears as though the space of decision making for the clerical and political leadership is shrinking and that for the Revolutionary Guard seems to be growing," said Secretary Clinton.
The Guard has accumulated considerable political and economic power in recent years. Most of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cabinet is made up of Revolutionary Guard members.
Some analysts on Iran in the United States say the Guard has gained more influence because of its recent role in suppressing protests against Mr. Ahmadinejad's reelection.
"Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps have been the winners of this post election violence," said Journalist Afshin Molavi of the New America Foundation in Washington. "In many ways the Revolutionary Guard Corps have been rising in power over the past ten years or so."To read full Voice of America story — Go Here Now.
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