|Obama Statement on Iran, and Other Bits of News
||[Jun. 23rd, 2009|03:43 pm]
|[||Tags|||||iran, obama, politics||]|
Here's President Obama's statement on recent developments in Iran, as prepared for delivery ans passed on by Salon War Room:
I’d like to say a few words about the situation in Iran. 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.
I have made it clear that 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.
The Iranian people are trying to have a debate about their future. 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. This is not about the United States and the West; this is about the people of Iran, and the future that they -- and only they -- will choose.
The Iranian people can speak for themselves. That is precisely what has happened these last few days. In 2009, no iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to the peaceful pursuit of justice. Despite the Iranian government’s efforts to expel journalists and isolate itself, powerful images and poignant words have made their way to us through cell phones and computers, and so we have watched what the Iranian people are doing.
This is what we have witnessed. We have seen the timeless dignity of tens of thousands Iranians marching in silence. We have seen people of all ages risk everything to insist that their votes are counted and their voices heard. Above all, we have seen courageous women stand up to brutality and threats, and we have experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets. While this loss is raw and painful, we also know this: those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history.
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.
I am especially pleased by his mention of the practice of "using old tensions to scapegoat other countries." There's been a lot of that coming out of the Middle East since the 1970s, and it's only made things worse, for both the locals and the rest of the world. It doesn't do much good when it comes from America's radical right either.
Other news, trickling out of places like this, indicate not only evidence of ballot-box-stuffing (as in, more votes counted in a district than voters residing in that district), but indications that at least a few of Iran's mullahs are taking the side of Mousavi and the protesters:
What can be confirmed is that the Council of Combatant Clerics – which includes in its members Rafsanjani and Nateq Noori – have backed the protesters. Khamanei is going to lead Friday prayers in Tehran. If there was a speech, we'll have a translation availble here within the hour.
The time they are a-changin'. Or at least getting crazy.