Obama: Iran Government's Actions 'Outrageous'

Check out our coverage from June 24 and June 25.

Updated 12:44 p.m.

President Barack Obama just made a statement on Iran at the White House, saying the Iranian government is operating outside of "international norms" and that he shouldn't have to apologize for criticizing a post-election government crackdown, as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for yesterday.

"The violence perpetrated against [the protesters] is outrageous. In spite of the government's efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it and we condemn it."

Obama spoke at a joint White House appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Read the whole transcript here.

Updated 12:09 p.m.

This photo was just uploaded to Twitter, said to be from today's green balloon protests in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi in Tehran:

Updated 11:23 a.m.

A group of Iranian bloggers has released a statement condemning crackdowns against protesters and calling on Iranian authorities to bridge a "huge gap between people and the government."

We, a group of Iranian bloggers, strongly condemn the violent and repressive confrontation of Iranian government against Iranian people's legitimate and peaceful demonstrations and ask government officials to comply with Article 27 of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Constitution which emphasizes "Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam."
We consider the violations in the presidential election, and their sad consequences a big blow to the democratic principles of the Islamic Republic regime, and observing the mounting evidence of fraud presented by the candidates and others, we believe that election fraud is obvious and we ask for a new election.
Actions such as deporting foreign reporters, arresting local journalists, censorship of the news and misrepresenting the facts, cutting off the SMS network and filtering of the internet cannot silence the voices of Iranian people as no darkness and suffocation can go on forever. We invite the Iranian government to honest and friendly interaction with its people and we hope to witness the narrowing of the huge gap between people and the government.

Updated 9:00 a.m.

When Iranian authorities began to restrict foreign journalists' ability to report from inside the country after the disputed June 12 election, millions of people turned to blogs and social media channels to exchange the latest information about what was happening in Iran. However, in recent days, real-time accounts have become increasingly difficult to come by and verify. Some videos and photos have emerged on the web, but many of them appear to be of Saturday's rallies; the last several days have gone largely undocumented.

A typical Tweet making the rounds yesterday encouraged Iranians to film a newspaper showing that day's date to prove that the events captured on film were in fact new.

"Letters from Iran"
, a blog that has been publishing dispatches from its contacts inside the country, wrote about the situation today.

Information is becoming more and more difficult to obtain and if it wasn't for the incredible courage of just a few which manage still to report live through twitter, endangering themselves dramatically in doing so, we would have no information whatsoever on the unfolding of the situation....

But the flow of information is now so light that it seems it could come to a halt pretty soon. There are very few Photos and videos from the alleged past days events and, as more videos continue to emerge from last Saturday's street fights, it is in most cases impossible to know when and where they were taken.
It is therefore almost impossible to grasp the situation inside Iran right now. A black cloud of death, terror and rage has covered the country.

Our colleagues at Slate believe that the internet may actually be easier for a repressive state to control than organizing methods of the past.

Over the last couple of weeks, those who believe in the transformative powers of technology have pointed to Iran as a test case--one of the first repressive regimes to meet its match in social media, the first revolution powered by Twitter. Even in the early days of the protest, that story line seemed more hopeful than true, as Slate's Jack Shafer, among many others, pointed out.

Since last week, though, when the state began to systematically clamp down on journalists and all communications networks leading out of the country, hope has become much harder to sustain. The conflicting accounts about what happened at Baharestan Square are evidence that Iran's media crackdown is working. The big story in Iran is confusion--on a daily basis, there are more questions than answers about what's really happening, about who's winning and losing, about what comes next. The surprise isn't that technology has given protesters a new voice. It's that, despite all the tech, they've been effectively silenced.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists says roughly 40 journalists have been detained since June 12, most of them working for Iranian news organizations.

--Liz Heron

June 26, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  world
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