19 June 2009

UPDATE: President Obama Speaks Up


UPDATE 1: For live coverage and active blogging on events as they're reported, go here to Atlas Shrugs.

The House passed a resolution in support of the protesters against the Iran's election results, followed by the Senate. Rep. Ron Paul was the only member of the House to vote against. The vote in the Senate was unanimous.

The Ayatollah's 'sermon' at Friday prayers at Tehran University predictably warned against further protests, saying: '"I want to tell everyone these things must finish. These street actions are being done to put pressure on leaders but we will not bow in front of them."' He further implied that any further protests would lead to bloodshed that would be on the heads of the protest leaders. This morning (Tehran time), the state-controlled media put our further warnings not to gather in protest. While there were protests today, and running battles with the sanctioned militia, crowds were unable (or too cautious) to gather in the numbers seen over the last few days.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the former Prime Minister who presided over the dismantling (and executions in some cases) of the former Shah's government after the Revolution, now says that he is willing to be a martyr. He has called for a nationwide strike if he is arrested, sparking speculation that strikes in the oil industry will cause a massive rate hike in the cost of a barrel of oil.

All of this had led President Obama to make yet another statement today, this one more forceful than over the previous week. '"We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights."' While I long to hear the president make a truly forceful statement in support of the protesters, and I'm not convinced that his motives are as described, it's possible that any stronger statements will only be used by the Iranian government to further harm the protesters themselves. This is the opinion of Henry Kissinger.

We'll find out in the next few days how far this will go. Right now, protests have continued into the night, and a tank is now reported to be at Azadi Square. Hot Air has many excellent video and site links to follow further.

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