As the violence on the streets of Tehran took a turn for the worse today, President Barack Obama publicly condemned the Iranian government for its “violent and unjust actions against its own people.” The protesters have clashed with police on and off for a week, but today’s crackdown appears to be more vigorous.
Reluctant to comment on the internal matter previously, the White House said the president has been meeting repeatedly with top advisers over the situation, and demanded that the Iranian government respect “the universal rights to assembly and free speech.” The Iranian government has rejected similar demands from other nations, noting that none of the Western governments allow mass rallies without permits.
The protests against last Friday’s disputed presidential vote in Iran have captured worldwide attention, and the chief opposition candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, has repeatedly demanded that the election be overturned in his favor. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has demanded an end to the protests and the pursuit of the matter through legal channels.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives also passed a resolution condemning the Iranian government and expressing official support for the protesters. The vote passed 405-1, with only Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) dissenting, insisting the US should avoid meddling in the internal affairs of foreign nations.
Still, the prevailing opinion in the US remains to be one of intervention, as expressed by President Obama. Rallies against the Iranian government and calling for the death of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have also been reported in several US cities.