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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 civilization."
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."