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President Clinton on unrest in Iran

The New York Times
July 22, 1999

WASHINGTON -- Following are excerpts from the news conference by President Clinton Wednesday at the White House, as recorded by The New York Times:

Q. In your last press conference, sir, with the Prime Minister Ehud Barak, you mentioned you wanted better normalized relations with Syria. Now have you received any response, positive response or indication from Syria towards that? And on Iran, can you share with us the administration views of the last events and administrations in Iran?

A. Well, on Syria let me say I -- the only thing I can tell you is that the statements, at least, that have been coming out of Syria have been quite encouraging in terms of the regard that President Assad seems to have for the Prime Minister and the willingness, the openness that there is to negotiating and moving toward peace, so I'm encouraged by that.

And on Iran, frankly I'm reluctant to say anything for fear that it will be used in a way that's not hopeful to the forces of openness and reform. I think that people everywhere, particularly younger people hope that they will be able to pursue their religious convictions and their personal dreams in an atmosphere of greater freedom that still allows them to be deeply loyal to their nation. And I think the Iranian people obviously love their country and are proud of its history and have enormous potential. And I just hope they find a way to work through all this, and I believe they will.


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