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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.

I hope the Iranian people overthrow these fascist theocrats and open their proud country up to democratic and more liberal (in the classical sense) values.  The United States should do whatever it can to support this without doing harm.  Some have called for Obama to explicitly endorse the opposition or even offer material support for them.  It seems too early for anything like that as that may be more counter productive – this revolution can’t be seen to be tainted by American influence but must be an organic homegrown rebellion.  

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