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Iran official: Clinton 'inconsistent'

By Tom Evans, CNN
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Iran and human rights
  • Larijani: Revolutionary Guard is answerable to legal structures of the state
  • U.S., Britain, France step up pressure for new sanctions against Iran
  • Larijani rejects criticism of Iran's policy on executing people
  • He says they were engaged in violence

(CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's policy on Iran is "dubious, inconsistent, and naive," one of Iran's most influential officials declared Tuesday.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, a member of a powerful political clan in Iran, rejected an assertion by Clinton on Monday that the Revolutionary Guard is supplanting the Iranian government, and Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship. One of Larijani's brothers is speaker of the Iranian parliament and another is head of Iran's judiciary.

"On the one hand she (Clinton) is worried about democracy in Iran, on the other hand she's offering the most generous military help to states which don't run a single election," Larijani told CNN's Christiane Amanpour just after Clinton had completed a three-day tour of Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.

Larijani said the Revolutionary Guard, which has extensive business interests in Iran, is answerable to legal structures of the state.

"The Revolutionary Guard is part of our defense system, they have a legal status, they have a legal command, and they are legally answerable to Parliament," he added.

Larijani, whose title is secretary general of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights, also rejected Western criticism of Iran's rights record, declaring that his country is "the greatest and ... only democracy in the Middle East."

He said he explained Iran's position in full this week to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, where the U.S., Britain, France and other nations strongly attacked Tehran's record, as they stepped up pressure for new international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

Video: Iran warning against sanctions
Video: Ahmadinejad's response

"It is true that the United States and a number of Western countries aired their criticism toward us, but it was mostly a kind of cliche," Larijani said.

"But on the other side, a lot of nations also supported and commended our position," he added -- a reference to countries including Cuba, Venezuela, and Sri Lanka.

Despite the government's massive crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators since the disputed presidential election in June last year, Larijani said Tuesday that no one is jailed because of protests in Iran.

"The only reason for jailing is the violence which was attached to the protests, a violence which got the life of more than 20 policemen and 13 civilians and also damaged the properties and also people's life and health," he asserted.

"I think the beating of our police is much less than the New York and Los Angeles police ... the violence in Tehran was much less that the violence in Paris.. (which) was in flames for three months."

He also rejected criticism of Iran's policy on executing people who, he said, were engaged in violence. "Those who indulge in terrorist activities, they are pursued by the law. They will face a very harsh sentence, if it is proved by the court."

Larijani acknowledged that official wrongdoing and unlawful acts do occasionally happen in Iran, but insisted the authorities take quick action to address problems when they are identified. He cited the example of what happened after the deaths of three protesters who were jailed at the Kahrizak Detention Center in Tehran. One of those who died was the son of a leading conservative politician.

He said the prosecutor-general, Saeed Mortazavi, who was linked to those deaths by a parliamentary committee could now face further investigation by the judicial authorities.

"Nobody will replace the court and their final decision," Larijani asserted.