In what was a departure from the usual diplomatic approach to iran, US president Barack Obama declared that he was “appalled and outraged” by the way in which the iranian regime crushed the protesters. Ever since the election victory and the subsequent protests, obama has been careful to maintain the diplomatic path in dealing with the crisis, but this reversal in his message indicates that there is only so much that can be tolerated.
“I strongly condemn these unjust actions,” he said. “I have made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering in Iran’s affairs.”
“But we must also bear witness to the courage and dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.” he added.
In particular he paid tribute to Neda Agha Soltan, the protester who has become known as the “Angel of Freedom” after images of her death in Tehran were posted on the internet.
He said: “We have seen courageous women stand up to brutality and threats, and we have experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets.
“While this loss is raw and painful, we also know this: Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history.”
The president has come under criticism from republican lawmakers and commentators that he did not criticize the regime more strongly and remained quiet on whether the vote was rigged. While this was done to discourage any insinuation that there was american support for an insurrection, it has only resulted in the administrations initial response appearing soft amid the tragic loss of life.
The people have however now changed tactics and have switched from day to night for their protests. Yelling slogans and God is great from the rooftops and honking horns and flashing lights at night. “People
are calmly protesting, more symbolically than with their voices,” said a Tehran resident.