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Obama: U.S. Can't Be Foil For Iran

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By Garance Franke-Ruta
President Obama spoke with Harry Smith of CBS on Friday about the violence and protests in Iran. Today, CBS put video of that portion of his interview online.

"This is not an issue of the United States or the West versus Iran, this an issue of the Iranian people," the president said in the interview. "The fact that they are on the streets under pretty severe duress at great risk to themselves is a sign that there is something in that society that wants to open up."

Asked specifically about charges that "you haven't been forceful enough in your support for those people in the street," Obama argued for the importance of allowing events in Iran to play out on their own.

"The last thing that I want to do is to have the United States be a foil for those forces inside Iran who would love nothing better than to make this an argument about the United States. That's what they do. That's what we're already seeing. We shouldn't be playing into that. There should be no distractions from the fact that the Iranian people are seeking to let their voices be heard," the president said.

"What we can do is bear witness and say to the world that the incredible demonstrations that we've seen is a testimony to, I think, the -- what Dr. King called the 'the arc of the moral universe.' It's long but it bends towards justice."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 22, 2009; 4:47 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , In Case You Missed It  
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The President is providing America with outstanding leadership and all American should embrace what he is doing and how he is doing it relative to Iran. His critics say nothing of how they would handle the Iran question and what would be the outcome of their suggestions. "As one senator asked "What are the magic words they want him to use?" I hope they are not "bomb bomb bomb Iran."

Posted by: RevLPLakey | June 24, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

unlike some shortsighted repubs, the president will not allow himself to be sidetracked from his larger goal of being able to talk with hostile governments/leaders to achieve world peace. if, this early, he decides to cut down or denounce ahmadineajad, then he'd lost the battle even before it has started.
the good thing is we have a smart, thoughtful commander-in-chief at the helm who will not allow himself to be muddled by some shallow show of masculinity and braggadocio.
how can you even hope to approach an enemy when you already revealed your antagonistic sentiments towards him.
the republicans only show that they are as shallow as their reaction..

Posted by: sharkfin1 | June 23, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Of course the President is right. His critics are fools and hypocrites.

But what the Iranian leaders had better remember is: not only are their own people going to hold them accountable, but LOTS of countries, not just the US, treat fellow democratic governments with much greater respect than dictatorships that camouflage themselves with such a thin veneer of 'democracy'.

Posted by: Syllogizer | June 22, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

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