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“Will President Obama Speak For Freedom and for Human Rights?”

Thursday, June 18, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My new column asks: “How hard should it be for President Obama to declare unequivocally and with specificity that the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad regime should not murder its opponents, should not fire into crowds, should not sweep through the university campus and drag away suspected student leaders?”

Michael Totten warns that the “relative ‘peace'” of the past few days in Iran is probably not sustainable, and cites a variety of warnings about a violent suppression coming.

It is crucial that the president and Secretary of State Clinton both issue strong statements about the necessity of the regime refusing to fire on its own people. This isn’t meddling in the internal affairs of a nation, but simply the reiteration of a long-standing global norm, the violation of which is an act of voluntary self-exile from the community of civilized nations. The president cannot ultimately stop the mullahs from acting as tyrants, but his statements will be read and analyzed at the highest levels in Tehran, and perhaps at least induce some caution in some minds.

The Guardian Council has invited talks with the opposition, but the demonstrations will continue again today. The Assembly of Experts –a competing source of authority in the very convoluted system of government in Iran, has stayed silent thus far. (A BBC chart of how the regime is “organized is below. More background is available from the transcript of my extended interview with Amir Taheri from April 30.)

If the international community led by the U.S. keeps up an intense focus on the street demonstrations and every report of arrest and violence, the protection for those demonstrators increases and the pressure on the Supreme Leader to restrain the reactionaries will grow.

President Obama can find a way to speak to the crisis every day, and could devote his Saturday media address to support for the protestors’ right to be free to demonstrate without fear or fact of violence against them by the regime. Sorrowful words after a slaughter will be no use at all, and silence right now is a signal to the worst elements of the Khamenei/Ahmadienjad faction that the U.S. will not react negatively to a crack-down, no matter how bloody.

Powerline’s Scott Johnson, citing James Taranto, is pessimistic about President Obama’s willingness to demonstrate support for the demonstrators. But the president is nothing if not sensitive to public opinion shifts, and the American people are watching and cheering the protestors. The cable networks have begun to figure out that this story has a huge audience, and increasing coverage means increasing attention from the politicos in the West Wing. The American voter does not reward indifference to slaughter on the part of its leaders. There are many reasons for the president to begin to use the rhetorical powers of his office, and very few to remain as ambiguous and silent as he has been to date.

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President Obama’s Special Message To The People Of Iran

Thursday, June 18, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

From Iowahawk. The opening:

A Special Message to the People of Iran

By Barack Obama
President of the United States

Greetings. As president of United States — or, if you prefer, the Great Satan — I have have been following with keen interest the vigorous post-election debate and vibrant political dialogue which has been taking place in your great and noble Islamic Republic of Iran over recent days. It has been both educational and fascinating, and as a sports fan I have thrilled to the pageantry, the suspense, and the fast-paced, hard-hitting action. I have to say It’s been as exciting as a double overtime game seven NBA final between the Lakers and Celtics! Like millions of others around the world, I can’t wait for the exciting conclusion of your distracting nail-biter so I can finally focus on my big health care project at the office. (Now that’s what I call a real crisis!) But no matter who prevails in your hard-fought contest, you can rest assured that I will be out there in the stands watching, and ready to congratulate the team who brings home Tehran’s coveted Golden Centrifuge Cup.

Read the whole thing. HT: Ed Driscoll

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