Obama calls for end to violence in Iran

The president takes a stronger stance against the government and for the protesters

Published June 20, 2009 7:01PM (EDT)

With the situation in Iran heating up, the White House has issued a new statement from President Obama in which he takes his strongest rhetorical stance yet. It doesn't go as far as some of his critics have wanted, but it does lean more towards outright support of the protesters than his previous comments, and comes closer to outright condemnation of the Iranian government.

The full statement:

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said - “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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