Saturday, August 05, 2006

US Hails Iran's 100th Anniversary of Constitutional Revolution

Yahoo News:
The United States hailed Iran's constitutional revolution on its 100th anniversary as a defining but short-lived advance toward democracy, and voiced support for Iranians it said who still hoped for an open society.

The August 5, 1906 decree, which called for the creation of an elected parliament, the Majlis, "serves as a defining political moment for advancing the democratic ideas it represented," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement released Friday.

"Iranian nationalists set forth a powerful and revolutionary concept: a written constitution founded on the rule of fair and just laws, providing for a free press and respect for individual rights," McCormack said.

"This short-lived but noble constitutional movement was a significant victory for Iranian democracy and for the cause of freedom in the Middle East." READ MORE

Since then, McCormack said, Iranians have continued the struggle against unchecked power, corruption and wide disparities in wealth.

"The United States supports the aspirations of the Iranian people for an open society that encourages debate, allows for freedom of the press, champions human dignity and ensures justice, the rule of law and government accountability," he said.

The State Department message aimed at Iranians came against a backdrop of mounting tensions over the Iranian government's nuclear program and its support of the Shiite militia Hezbollah, based in southern Lebanon and currently engaged in fighting with Israel that has killed more than 900 people, mostly civilians, since July 12.

Earlier Friday, the United States issued a new rebuke to Iran and Syria, accusing them of directing Hezbollah to attack Israel.

"Iran created Hezbollah in 1982. Iran has funded Hezbollah and Iran has provided the long-range rockets that are raining down on the northern part of Israel right now," Nicholas Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs, said in a CNN interview.

"Iran is acting in a way that is fundamentally contrary to the hopes of all of us for stablility and peace in the Middle East."

On Monday the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling on Iran to freeze sensitive nuclear work by the end of the month or face possible sanctions.

Tehran contends that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes but the US and other countries suspect it is a cover to develop nuclear weapons.