Obama Condemns Iran Violence

In a White House press conference still underway, President Obama condemned the actions of Iran’s government in his strongest language to date:

President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared the United States and the entire world “appalled and outraged” by Iran’s violent efforts to crush dissent, a clear toughening of his rhetoric as Republican critics at home pound him for being too passive.

Obama condemned the “threats, beatings and imprisonments of the last few days.” “I strongly condemn these unjust actions,” Obama said in a news conference at the White House.

[…]

“I have made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering in Iran’s affairs,” Obama said. “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.”

Obama noted the killing of a young woman, Neda Agha Soltan, whose apparent shooting death was captured on video and circulated worldwide. “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,” Obama said. “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.”

I’m not sure what more he can say, short of threatening military action.  From what I’ve gathered from my Twitter stream, however, a lot of people are still not satisfied.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

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  2. Idiot says:

    At least and at last He (Evan Thomas suggests He is G-d like) decided it was important to offer some support to the protesters. He has a once in a generation opportunity to be rid of state that promotes terrorism both on its own citizens and around world that is actively pursuing nuclear weapons without having to fire a shot. I pray the regime falls.

  3. BMelton says:

    I believe you meant Iran in that first sentence James.

  4. An Interested Party says:

    re: Idiot at June 23, 2009 13:13

    And exactly what words that would come out of his mouth would cause the regime to fall? Apparently Evan Thomas isn’t the only person who thinks the president is god-like…

  5. PD Shaw says:

    I’m not sure what more he can say, short of threatening military action. From what I’ve gathered from my Twitter stream, however, a lot of people are still not satisfied.

    Well, he could have said it last week. I think it was naive for Obama to think he could control a narrative as large as this. In 19th century Great Britain, news of Turkish atrocities had to be suppressed in the media unless British citizens become too excitable for diplomacy.

    Also, it is naive to think that accusations of foreign influence are within Obama’s control. For one reason, there is foreign influence coming from America and for another, the mullahs will claim it anyway.

    At this point, America’s primary interest is stopping Iran’s nuclear program, avoiding a regional war if Israel attacks preemptively, and avoiding nuclear proliferation as the Arab/Sunni countries seek to balance Iran. I think events have taken away Obama’s previous strategy of engagement; his best option is if the internal divisions encourage the mullahs to make a deal in which the U.S. lifts sanctions, which would give them time to try to regain control. He can’t create these divisions, but he can keep the pressure up.

  6. […] [h/t] Outside the Beltway […]

  7. PD Shaw says:

    I should add that I don’t think McCain and other Republicans are correct that we should take sides.

  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    Much less of this, Now…

    “I have made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering in Iran’s affairs,”

    much more of this……..

    Obama said. “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.”

    He has a once in a generation opportunity to be rid of state that promotes terrorism both on its own citizens and around world that is actively pursuing nuclear weapons without having to fire a shot. I pray the regime falls.

    Hear hear!!It’s happened before, be like Reagan, Mr.President, at least in this…..

  9. E.D. Kain says:

    It’s certainly not an easy thing to watch – as I’m quite sure now that there will only be one brutal crackdown after another until the resistance is all but defeated. But what we can do is reopen diplomatic channels so that in the future, if this happens again, we’ll have some leverage. Between trade and diplomatic relations we could have achieved far more than we have.

  10. brainy435 says:

    Maybe he could actually ACT “appalled and outraged” by not planning on sucking up to these people at BBQs on the day we celebrate our freedoms?

    And why the f*!@ would we REWARD these animals with normalized relations for murdering their own people?!

  11. Pharisee says:

    And why the f*!@ would we REWARD these animals with normalized relations for murdering their own people?!

    Dude, you know what? I’ll bet Obama is into that Jesus guy who hangs out with prostitutes and tax collectors!

  12. JKB says:

    Obama’s problem is he missed the moment. The time to come out forcefully was before the murders started. It is apparent that his strong words now are an attempt at damage control for himself.

    True there is little he can do directly. Although, the US government could refuse to host representatives of the regime at parties. That is what you do when you want to send a diplomatic message.

    He could also move to alter the Iranian Transactions Regulations to permit technology and service to be provided to the citizens of Iran while denying such exports to the government, military, and associated personnel. For one, Obama should move immediately to amend the ITR to permit Twitter and others to legally provide web accounts and assistance to Iranian citizens.

    We should watch the administration closely to ensure they don’t surreptitiously move to enforce the regulations cutting off the lifeline to the protesters.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    We should watch the administration closely to ensure they don’t surreptitiously move to enforce the regulations cutting off the lifeline to the protesters.

    I see…so now the president is in league with Ahmadinejad? Perhaps you didn’t realize that the Obama Administration recently asked the administrators of Twitter to postpone planned maintenance so that the protesters could continue to send messages? I realize you don’t like the president but really, your line of reasoning is quite pathetic…