Obama On the Rights of the Iranian People

At least two people were killed and dozens were arrested in protests in Iran on February 14th.

This photo, taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran shows Iranian protestors attending  an anti-government protest as a garbage can is set on fire, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011.
This photo, taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran shows Iranian protestors attending an anti-government protest as a garbage can is set on fire, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011.

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At least two people were killed and dozens were arrested in protests in Iran on February 14th. Thousands of protestors gathered in multiple Iranian cities to express solidarity with anti-government, pro-democracy demonstrators in Egypt who for weeks had demanded political change in their country. Iranian demonstrators were met with tear gas, batons, and arrest by Iranian government security forces –- agents of the same Iranian government that had lavishly praised Egyptian protestors for demanding political reform and freedom.

President Barack Obama noted the irony of the Iranian government's behavior:

"You've got the Iranian regime pretending to celebrate what happened in Egypt when in fact, they have acted in direct contrast to what happened in Egypt by gunning down and beating people who were trying to express themselves peacefully in Iran."

President Obama said that what is true in Egypt should be true in Iran "which is that people should be able to express their opinions and their grievances and seek a more responsive government:"

"My hope and expectation is that we're going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government, understanding that America cannot ultimately dictate what happens inside of Iran any more than it could inside of Egypt."

"Ultimately, "President Obama said, "these are sovereign countries that are going to have to make their own decisions.  What we can do is lend moral support to those who are seeking a better life for themselves."

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