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Clinton Urges Iran To Reject Military Expansion

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is urging the people of Iran to reject what she says is an expansion of the Iranian military's role and power.

Clinton says the United States is increasingly concerned about the rise of the military's power in Iran. And she says many inside Iran are worried, too.

In an interview with the U.S. television network ABC, which airs later today, she says she hopes Iranians find a way to head off the military drift.

She expresses the hope that "responsible" leaders will take control in Iran.

"And I can only hope that there will be some effort inside Iran, by responsible civil and religious leaders, to take hold of the apparatus of the state," she says.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad rejected Clinton's remarks, saying, "I recommend this lady to think before talking and make some studies [about Iran]."

He said it was ironic for a country whose military budget was as high as the military budgets of all other nations combined to accuse Iran of being a military state.

compiled from agency reports