Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama on Iran, "govern through consent not coercion"

Today president Obama upped the ante in election/regime crisis in Iran. Comments from his news conference of July 23, 2009

“The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost.”

“the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs. But we must also bear witness to the courage and dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.”

“Some in the Iranian government are trying to avoid that debate by accusing the United States and others outside of Iran of instigating protests over the elections. These accusations are patently false and absurd. They are an obvious attempt to distract people from what is truly taking place within Iran’s borders. This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries won’t work anymore in Iran.”

“As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people have a universal right to assembly and free speech. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect those rights, and heed the will of its own people. It must govern through consent, not coercion. That is what Iran’s own people are calling for, and the Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government.”

Associated Press
"Marzieh Masaebi, at her home in Tehran, watches a satellite-TV broadcast of President Barack Obama's videotaped address to the Iranian people." Wall Street Journal article after Obama's speech to the Iranian people

What do Iranians think of Obama?

AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian
"A woman in the streets of Tehran holds up the Iranian daily Rozan with a photo of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama the day after the American election." from Scott Ritter at Truth Dig

In Obama's Nowruz message to the people of Iran, he signaled a possible opening for talks between the two countires.

from the March 20, 2009 address
"Indeed, you will be celebrating your New Year in much the same way that we Americans mark our holidays...Within these celebrations lies the promise of a new day, the promise of opportunity for our children, security for our families, progress for our communities, and peace between nations. Those are shared hopes, those are common dreams."

"You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right -- but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create."

How quickly times have changed

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