President George W. Bush says the United States supports the Iranian people's aspirations for freedom: "To the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you." Interviewed by Fox News, Vice President Dick Cheney elaborated on the president's statement: "The president wanted to make it clear that the United States supports the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy. And that's the statement he made that night, that we want to encourage the reformers, if you will, inside Iran to work to build a true democracy, one that doesn't vest enormous power, as this one does, in the unelected mullahs, who, we believe, are a threat to peace and stability in the region." Mr. Cheney said that elections in Iran under the clerical regime have been "tainted. . . .by the ruling power[s]:" "They control who can get on the ballot, and they've kept a lot of the serious reformers off the ballot. They've reasserted control so that they put a crimp, if you will, in the potential for that younger generation to really be able to express themselves."
Vice-President Cheney spoke a few days after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters that "the Iranian regime's human rights behavior and its behavior toward its own population is something to be loathed." Ms. Rice said that Iran's rulers pursue policies that are "out of step with the growing trends toward democracy and reform in the region." It is "extremely important," she said, that the Iranian people "not be forgotten as we talk about reforms in the rest of the Middle East."