U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that Iran is communicating with Hizbullah in a bid to shape events in the Arab world.
It was the first time that Clinton detailed alleged efforts by Tehran to meddle in the three-month wave of Arab revolts that has toppled presidents in Tunisia and Egypt, convulsed Libya and shaken Yemen, Bahrain and Oman.
"They are doing everything they can to influence the outcomes in these places," Clinton told the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"They are using Hizbullah... to communicate with counterparts... in (the Palestinian movement) Hamas who then in turn communicate with counterparts in Egypt," the chief U.S. diplomat said.
"We know that they are reaching out to the opposition in Bahrain. We know that the Iranians are very much involved in the opposition movements in Yemen," she said.
Clinton told Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. should continue to fund the Lebanese army despite concerns that recent political gains by Hizbullah might influence its leadership and pose a threat to Israel.
She said U.S. support for Lebanon's armed forces was in American and regional security interests.
Clinton added that the annual U.S. funding of about $100 million to the armed forces is important to stability in Lebanon, particularly along its border with Israel.
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