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Iranian People Pay The Price

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come under fire from critics in Iran. Two conservative newspapers published editorials blaming Mr. Ahmadinejad's inflexibility and angry rhetoric for a United Nations Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. In addition, about fifty members of parliament signed a letter calling on Mr. Ahmadinejad to appear before the legislature to answer questions about the nuclear program. Another letter, signed by one hundred and fifty parliamentarians, criticized the president's economic policies.

Meanwhile, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Iran's most senior dissident cleric, expressed dissatisfaction with the government over rising inflation, and said that Iranians have other rights beyond access to nuclear power. U.S. State Department Deputy spokesman Tom Casey says the Iranian people are paying the price for the misguided policies of their government:

"President Ahmadinejad, when he was running for office, made great claims about what he was going to do to foster economic development in Iran, to provide jobs for young people, to in effect engage Iran more deeply in the international economic system and in the international community."

Instead, says Mr. Casey, the policies Mr. Ahmadinejad has adopted, in particular on the nuclear issue, have kept that objective from being fulfilled:

"As Iran finds itself more isolated, as it finds itself under additional sanctions, that goal gets further and further away. So it certainly wouldn't surprise me, whether that's in other parts of the Iranian government, or more importantly, with the Iranian people, that there are concerns that he frankly is pursuing policies that take them further away from what everyone in that country wants to see happen."

"The policy of the Iranian government right now is defiance of the international community in pursuit of a nuclear weapon," says State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey. "I don't think that is something that is in the best interests of the Iranian people, and it's certainly not in the best interests of the international community."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.