Saturday, June 20, 2009

Obama to Iran: "The whole world is watching"

My feelings about how the Obama administration has responded so far to the political upheaval in Iran are complex--though, on balance, mostly positive. I don't want to try to spell out my thoughts on the matter right now, so for the moment let me just say that my sentiments are largely in accord with those of George Packer and Karim Sadjapour. More on this subject another time ...

In the meantime, the latest statement issued by the Obama administration conveys an important message to both the Iranian regime and the Iranian people.

--Jeff Weintraub

The White House
June 20, 2009
Statement from the President on Iran

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.