Obama fends off pressure to respond forcefully to Iran

June 20th, 2009 - 12:38 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Washington, June 20 (ANI): The Obama Administration has fended off pressure to respond more forcefully to the disputed Iran’s presidential election after a week of swelling protests.

Administration officials said events this weekend in Tehran - when demonstrators plan to rally in defiance of the authorities - would be a indicator of whether President Barack Obama would join European leaders and lawmakers on Capitol Hill in more harshly condemning the tactics of the Iranian government.

Congressional Republicans and conservative foreign-policy experts stepped up their pressure on the White House to take a firmer stand in support of the demonstrators, even as Obama worked to keep Democrats from breaking openly with him on Iran, The New York Times reported.

Obama Administration officials said they had not been swayed by criticism that President Obama’s refusal to speak out more had broken faith with democracy advocates in Tehran, or by the fact that European leaders and even members of his own party in Congress had responded more assertively than he had.

In an interview with CBS News on Friday, President Obama spoke cautiously about warnings by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, of bloodshed if the protests go on.

“I’m very concerned, based on some of the tenor and tone of the statements that have been made, that the government of Iran recognize that the world is watching,” Obama said.

The President is determined to react to events as they unfold, rather than make statements that might play well politically, but hinder his longer-term foreign-policy goals, officials said, The NYT reports.

The Obama Administration still hopes to pursue diplomatic engagement with Iran on its nuclear program. Still, one senior official acknowledged that a crackdown would scramble the Obama Administration’s calculations.

Obama continued to face pressure at home not to miss an opportunity to align the United States with a potentially historic shift in Iran, the paper reports.

On Friday, both houses of Congress threw full support behind the rights of protesters to challenge the election results.

The European Union also took a markedly tougher line than Obama, issuing a statement condemning the violence that resulted in loss of life.

The European Union’s 27 national leaders also “condemned the crackdown against journalists, media outlets, communications and protesters,” which they said were “in contrast to the relatively open and encouraging period in the run-up to the election.” (ANI)

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