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President Barack Obama said,
"the United States joins with the international community in strongly
condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens,
which has apparently resulted in detentions, injuries, and even death."
President Obama commented in response to a violent Iranian government crackdown
on protestors that has reportedly resulted in multiple deaths, as well as the
arrests of hundreds of demonstrators, including several political figures and
human rights activists.
According to news reports, thousands of Basij paramilitaries, armed with clubs,
electric batons, and tear gas, attacked hundreds of students on the campus of
the University of Tehran. Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, Iran's chief prosecutor
reportedly announced that Iranian security forces "will show no
mercy" to the demonstrators or their families.
The continued government suppression, since the contested June presidential
elections, has drawn sharp international criticism.
"For months, the Iranian people have sought nothing more than to exercise
their universal rights. Each time they have done so, they have been met with
the iron fist of brutality, even on solemn occasions and holy days," said
President Obama. "And each time that has happened," he said,
"the world has watched with deep admiration for the courage and the
conviction of the Iranian people who are part of Iran's great and enduring
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President Obama noted that, "What is taking place within Iran is not about
the United States or any other country. It's about the Iranian people and their
aspirations for justice and a better life for themselves. The decision of
Iran's leaders," he said, "to govern through fear and tyranny will
not succeed in making those aspirations go away."
President Obama recalled his remarks in Oslo, where he was recently awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize, "it's telling when governments fear the aspirations of
their own people more than the power of any other nation."
Along with all free nations the United States stands with those who seek their
universal rights. President Obama said the U.S. calls upon the Iranian
government "to abide by the international obligations that it has to
respect the rights of its own people," and calls, as well, "for the
immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained within Iran." The
United States, he said, "will continue to bear witness to the
extraordinary events that are taking place there. And I'm confident that
history will be on the side of those who seek justice."