The Islamic Republic of Iran celebrated its recent 31st anniversary in revealing ways. In the run-up to the event, the regime arrested several more opposition activists and journalists; it seriously constricted access to the internet, mobile telephone and text messaging systems; on February 11th, it reportedly met peaceful demonstrators with brutal force, and, at the culmination of the festivities, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had become a "nuclear state" – with ability to enrich uranium to weapons grade levels.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the attempts of the Iranian government to shut down Iran's communication systems "unprecedented and overwhelming" and condemned Tehran's – "using force to intimidate their own people."
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the United States "stand[s] by the universal rights of Iranians to express themselves freely and to do so without intimidation or violence:"
"Iranians have gone out into the streets to do just that in a peaceful way. And we will continue to monitor it and continue to express our condemnation and dismay for any violence that should happen as a result of the exercising of those universal rights."
Mr. Gibbs cast doubt on the validity of Mr. Ahmadinejad's claim that Tehran now has ability to enrich uranium to high levels, but said Iran's intransigence concerning its nuclear program has led the international community to be "more united" than ever to take additional steps to apply pressure on Iran to change course.
The United Nations Security Council has already imposed 3 rounds of economic sanctions on Iran because of its failure to live up to its international obligations concerning its nuclear program.