Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice directly called out the governments of Iran and Syria today for fueling anger in the Middle East over the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
"I don't have any doubt that Iran and Syria have gone out of their way to inflame sentiments and to use this to their own purposes. And the world ought to call them on it," she told reporters at a news conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Rice stopped short of criticizing the cartoons (though her spokesman has called them "offensive" in recent days), instead saying the U.S. believes in freedom of the press and "with press freedom comes a certain responsibility."
In contrast to Iran and Syria, Rice praised the governments of Afghanistan and Lebanon and Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq for condemning the violent protests and said, "this is a time when everyone should urge calm and should urge that there is an atmosphere of respect and understanding."