Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama, sending a message to Iran. And about that Huffington Post question.

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WASHINGTON-- When President Obama strongly condemned the violence in Iran on Tuesday- cranking up his rhetoric, perhaps enough to satisfy critics who said earlier comments were too tentative- he also sent the message to Iran that the U.S. had nothing to do with the Internet-fueled uprisings in Tehran and the fate of the nation was in Iranians¹ hands.

Obama opened his fourth White House press conference by declaring Tuesday
afternoon he was "appalled and outraged" by the Iranian government crackdown
in the wake of a disputed June 12 presidential election.

He said he saw thevideo of the murder of "Neda," the 26-year-old gunned down, presumably by the Iranian government, and said, "It's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking.
And I think that anybody who sees it knows that there's something
fundamentally unjust about that."

The president wanted to talk directly to Iran, calling on an editor from the
Huffington Post, Nico Pitney, knowing the Web outlet had been soliciting
questions online from Iranians.

The White House phoned Pitney Monday saying he might be called on and was physically pre-positioned in the crowded White House briefing room by a White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, so the president could find him when his name was called.

But the inside story of how the White House choreographed the Huffington
Post question is overwhelmed by the message Obama wanted to send out to the
Iranian youths on the streets of Tehran, who are witnessing their revolution
play out on the Web.

Even though the Iranian government has tried to curb cell phone videos and
still pictures, Twitter messages and e-mail exchanges, the social networking
tools of the Internet have helped organize demonstrations and send
information out to the world.

"Would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad?" Pitney asked.

"And if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn't
that a betrayal of what the demonstrators there are working towards?²
Obama said what¹s important is for the Iranians ‹ not the U.S. ‹ to consider
the election legitimate.

"A sizeable percentage of the Iranian people themselves, spanning Iranian
society, consider this election illegitimate. It's not an isolated instance
‹ a little grumbling here or there.

"There is significant questions about the legitimacy of the election. And so ultimately the most important thing for the Iranian government to consider is legitimacy in the eyes of its own people, not in the eyes of the United States," Obama said.

Obama emphasized during his press conference he wants to keep the U.S. out
of the developing story, though of course the world is watching and waiting
for Obama¹s responses, especially if the violence continues.

That¹s a reason, I think, he did not come out forcefully on the side of the
protesters days ago. It¹s important to the Obama team to not be seen as
managing the outcome of this unexpected crisis.

Said Obama, "My role has been to say the United States is not going to be a
foil for the Iranian government to try to blame what's happening on the
streets of Tehran on the CIA or on the White House, that this is an issue
that is led by and given voice to the frustrations of the Iranian people."

1 Comment

"Would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad?" Pitney asked.

America can be so hypocritical at times it makes you wonder do they still teach History in the schools.

Did all other countries accept previous United States presidents even though slavery, Jim Crowism and Segregation and Denying the Right to Vote to some of her citizens less than a mere fifty years ago? How about the internment of persons of Asian decent who were born here during WW-II? And Native Americans who still own less than one percent of land in America?

"And if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn't
that a betrayal of what the demonstrators there are working towards?²

I remember quite a few people were killed while trying to become full-fledged citizens in American not that long ago. So how can the question of acceptance be posed. It was accepted here for many centuries before being exposed as well. Therefore changes in Iran is not going to happen overnight, the same as it didn't happen in America.

Obama said what¹s important is for the Iranians ‹ not the U.S. ‹ to consider
the election legitimate.

And that is all the U.S. president can do when dealing with another soveriegn country regardless if we DO NOT LIKE how they treat its citizens.

In closing no one likes to view other human beings murdered for trying to attain basic HUMAN RIGHTS, but it seems to be a process that each country must go through for each citizen to be a complete member of its society.

America is fighting two wars presently. One unjust and another without the full accompaniment of soldiers in another. Now what do people expect? For the president to talk tough and not be able to back it up with armory?

Lastly speaking, we know the process was strange. When have you ever seen a U.S. President sitting at a ballot box showing someone where to place their ballot in the box?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been photographed influencing a voter where to place a ballot.

Also, there are two other levels of government officials beyond being president of Iran.

Iran political structure can be realized if you look at it as two sections: Iran government, which works according to Iranian Constitution and Islam, and other political entities, which help the formation of the complete political structure.

More importantly, the supreme leader who is the HIGHEST AUTHORITY in the Islamic Republic of Iran supervises the above two categories.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 23, 2009 9:51 PM.

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