Obama Condemns Iran's "Iron Fist" Policy

During a White House press conference, US.. President Obama came out against Iran’s attempts to make the United States responsible for the ongoing riots in that country. Obama said accusations that foreigners were inciting the demonstrators “are an obvious attempt to distract people from what is truly happening within Iran’s borders.” He condemned the Iranian government’s “unjust actions” against the demonstrators and spoke of “each and every life that is lost.”

Obama said no “iron fist” policy could prevent people from expressing their will in 2009. He added that “the United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days.” He reaffirmed that Washington does not want to interfere with Iran’s internal affairs, but said “the Iranian people have a universal right to assembly and free speech.” The president brushed off charges that he clearly defined and criticized the suppression of the protest movement in Iran too late. Obama did not want to say anything about possible international sanctions against Iran because it was still unclear how the situation there would develop.

Iran’s Guardian Council: No “Major Irregularities”

German Foreign Minister and SPD Party candidate for Chancellor Frank-Walter Steinmeier voiced his concern about the situation in Iran during his visit to the editorial department of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Ayatollah Khamenei cannot give any speech which shows Iran a way out of this crisis.” Steinmeier thinks that Iran cannot simply get back to business as usual after all that had happened during the past several days.

Criticism from the West has to be clear and should not lend itself to exploitation by Iran’s leaders. “We cannot convey the impression that regime change is being urged on from abroad,” Steinmeier said. This danger is great, and is something that affects the nuclear crisis. He discussed this with President Obama, who made it clear that negotiations with Teheran will not be a concession to the regime there, but rather would be in the West’s interest.

The Iranian state news media reported that incumbent Iranian President Ahmadinejad will be sworn in for a second term sometime between July 26 and August 19. He must then form his new government within 25 days. The Guardian Council had determined earlier that there were no “major irregularities” during the June 12 election. A nullification of the election, which the opposition had demanded, will not happen. Council spokesman Kadkchodaei said that the Guardian Council was not responsible for possible irregularities before the election.

After Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warning on Monday of a “revolutionary suppression” of all future protests, the Guardian Council on Tuesday left no leeway for a compromise with the opposition. It remains to be seen whether there will still be a recount of 10 percent of the votes, as the Guardian Council had announced over the weekend. The Interior Ministry wants to make the results from 45,000 individual voting boxes public in the days ahead. It did not comment on the general strike announced by the opposition on Tuesday.

Reform-Oriented Clerics Support Moussawi

The Iranian government charged that United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, was interfering in the internal affairs of Iran when he demanded that the civil rights of the demonstrators be respected and called for an end to the violence. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the secretary general was under the influence of “some powers” and ignoring the realities of the Iranian election. Teheran expelled two British diplomats on Tuesday. The British government immediately responded with the expulsion of two Iranian diplomats from Great Britain.

In the holy city of Qom, opposition leader Moussawi met with leading clerics. Moussawi reported on his website that they discussed post-election developments. Moussawi denounced the substantially increased presence of security forces in the streets of Teheran. He wrote that there is a big difference between silencing people and winning them over. The security forces had apparently restrained themselves on Monday night. Nothing was known about potential fatalities. The group of reform-oriented clerics condemned the suppression of the demonstrators and stood once again behind Moussawi.

The Iranian air force began a four day exercise over the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. According to news reports, Russian-built Sukhoi and Iranian-built Saegheh combat aircraft, with ranges of 3600 kilometers, are participating in this exercise.

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