Obama says Mousavi has captured imagination of courageous Iranians
U.S. President Barack Obama says relations with Iran and the prospect for dialogue have suffered a setback as a result of the atrocities committed by the regime against its own people.
“There is no doubt that any direct dialogue or diplomacy with Iran is going to be affected by the events of the last several weeks,” Obama said at a joint news conference with visiting German Chancellor Merkel. “And we don’t yet know how any potential dialogue will have been affected until we see what’s happened inside of Iran.”
At the same time, Chancellor Merkel hinted that attempts will be made to get precise details about the deaths in Iran, however, it remained unclear if she intends to call for some type of a trial for people for crimes against humanity.
“On Iran, over the past few weeks, we have seen horrifying scenes, looking at how, for example, the security forces there dealt with demonstrators,” said Merkel. “We will not forget this. And let me say that we shall do everything in order to identify the exact number of victims, who those victims were, and how they dealt with those demonstrators.”
“In this day and age of the 21st century, Iran cannot count on the world community turning a blind eye to this. We are able to see this through images. My own experience from the GDR tells me that it is so important than one knows when one is in such a situation that people somewhere else in the world are knowledgeable of what is happening to you,” added the German Chancellor.
Obama also spoke about opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, saying he seems to have captured the imagination of young people seeking change.
“I think what’s absolutely clear is over the course of subsequent days, that Moussavi has shown to have captured the imagination or the spirit of forces within Iran that were interested in opening up, and that he has become a representative of many of those people who are on the streets and who have displayed extraordinary bravery and extraordinary courage,” Obama said.
“I continue to believe that ultimately it’s up to the Iranian people to make decisions about who their leaders are going to be,” he added. “But as I said this week and I’ve said previously, a government that treats its own citizens with that kind of ruthlessness and violence and that cannot deal with peaceful protesters who are trying to have their voices heard in a equally peaceful way I think has moved outside of universal norms, international norms, that are important to uphold.”
earlier, in his opening remarks, Obama spokes about Iran and several issues the U.S. and the international community face.
“The Chancellor and I discussed the tragic situation in Iran. Today we speak with one voice: the rights of the Iranian people — to assemble, to speak freely, to have their voices heard — those are universal aspirations,” he said.
“And their bravery in the face of brutality is a testament to their enduring pursuit of justice. The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. Despite the government’s efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it and we condemn it.
“As I’ve said before, the Iranian people will be the ultimate judge of their government’s actions. But if the Iranian government desires the respect of the international community then it must respect the rights, and heed the will, of its people.
Merkel said: “We had a number of issues on our agenda today. I would like to underline that the Iranian people need to be given the right to peaceful demonstrations; that the Iranian people have the right to have votes be counted and the election results substantiated; that the rights of human beings, of individuals, of citizens are indivisible the world over, and also apply, therefore, to the Iranian people.
“We have to work to it that the Iranian nuclear program is stopped; that Iran does not get possession of a nuclear weapon. In this context, it is very desirable, of course, that also looms large on our agenda, that the peace process in the Middle East gains momentum, that there is progress, visible progress here, because that, too, might send a positive message to those forces in the Middle East who are not ready to be peaceful,” she added.