David Petraeus: “Iran is a becoming a thugocracy”
10 Mar 2010
General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, warned on Sunday that Iran is becoming a ‘thugocracy’ in attempts to suppress popular anger over last year’s disputed presidential election results.
“I think you’ve heard it said by pundits that Iran has gone from being a theocracy to a thugocracy,” Petraeus, whose command stretches from Egypt to Pakistan and includes Iran, said on CNN’s ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS.’
“And that is again because of the emergence of this reform movement of the citizens who are outraged at the hijacking of the election that took place back last summer.”
Iran has imprisoned and even executed protesters who demonstrated against the presidential election in June 2009 that brought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad back to power despite widespread allegations of fraud.
Petraeus said it was not clear whether Tehran had definitively decided to pursue nuclear weapons, as many Western nations fear. But he said such a decision was “a little bit immaterial at this point in time, because all of the components of a program to produce nuclear weapons… have been proceeding.”
The United States is working with its UN Security Council veto-wielding partners – France, Britain, China and Russia – as well as Germany, to come up with new sanctions against Iran. Tehran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Petraeus said Iranian actions were making it easier for the United States to build a coalition and added: “President Ahmadinejad is often our best recruiting officer.” (source: AFP)
In a furious reaction, Ali Larijani, chairman of the Iranian parliament, has condemned Petraeus’ remarks as ‘insults’. He called the American government “murderers and gangsters who are at all times conspiring to destroy the Middle East”. According to Larijani, the only reason why General Petraeus is making such statements is because of being frustrated with the wildly existing anti-Americanism in the region.
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