<!-- IMAGE -->
In Iran, the government
continues its brutal repression of the Iranian people.
On the sacred feast of Ashura on December 27, at least eight people were killed
and hundreds more arrested when Iranians across the country joined
anti-government protests and were met once again with violence by Iran's
security forces. The government's response was the bloodiest since June's
disputed presidential election. In the days following the Ashura protests,
Iran's Interior Minister announced that the demonstrators risk execution as
enemies of God; officials arrested relatives of the country's Nobel Laureate
and the main opposition leader; a pro-government website posted pictures of
demonstrators and a plea to informants to identify them; and security forces
arrested at least six more Iranian journalists.
At a news conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States
is "deeply disturbed by the mounting signs of ruthless repression" by
the government in Iran:
<!-- IMAGE -->"We want to reiterate that we stand with those Iranians who are peacefully
demonstrating. We mourn the loss of innocent life. We condemn the detention and
imprisonment, the torture and abuse of people, which seems to be
Secretary of State Clinton also spoke of Iran's continuing refusal to engage
diplomatically on the issue of its nuclear program. In the absence of a
positive response by Tehran to a proposal by the International Atomic Energy
Agency involving its stockpile of enriched uranium and a Tehran research
reactor, Secretary of State Clinton said the United States and other nations
were starting deliberations on increasing pressure on the Iranian government:
"We want to keep the door to
dialogue open. But we've also made it clear we can't continue to wait. . . .So
we have already begun discussions with our partners and with likeminded nations
about pressure and sanctions."
"We hope that there will be an opportunity for Iran to reverse course, to
begin engaging in a positive way with the international community, respecting
the rights of their own citizens," said Secretary of State Clinton.
"But we're going to continue on our dual-track approach."