Barack Obama | Iran | News

Obama Remarks on Iran, Answers Question About Vote Legitimacy


In a press conference today, Obama remarked on the situation in Iran, saying, in part:

"This is what we have witnessed. We have seen the timeless dignity of tens of thousands Iranians marching in silence. We have seen people of all ages risk everything to insist that their votes are counted and their voices heard. Above all, 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 extraordinarily painful, we also know this: those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history."

Later, he was asked a question, via Huffington Post reporter Nico Pitney, from an Iranian citizen.

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP (transcript of HuffPost question below)...

QUESTION: Yes, I did, but I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian. We solicited questions on tonight from people who are still courageous enough to be communicating online. And one of them wanted to ask you this: Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad? And if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn’t that a betrayal of — of what the demonstrators there are working to achieve?

OBAMA: Well, look, we didn’t have international observers on the ground. We can’t say definitively what exactly happened at polling places throughout the country.

What we know is that a sizable percentage of the Iranian people themselves, spanning Iranian society, consider this election illegitimate. It’s not an isolated instance, a little grumbling here or there. There is significant questions about the legitimacy of the election.

And so, ultimately, the most important thing for the Iranian government to consider is legitimacy in the eyes of its own people, not in the eyes of the United States.

And that’s why I’ve been very clear, ultimately, this is up to the Iranian people to decide who their leadership is going to be and the structure of their government.

What we can do is to say, unequivocally, that there are sets of international norms and principles about violence, about dealing with the peaceful dissent, that — that spans cultures, spans borders.

And what we’ve been seeing over the Internet and what we’ve been seeing in news reports violates those norms and violates those principles.

I think it is not too late for the Iranian government to recognize that — that there is a peaceful path that will lead to stability and legitimacy and prosperity for the Iranian people. We hope they take it.

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. It is obvious that if the Iranian gov wanted a real and untainted election they could easily allow international observers and let watchdog group step in to monitor the process. Of course, they are not interested in free and democratic elections as evidenced by this whole mess. In all probability Ahmadinejad probably won: (see for differing opinions on this) but the problem is that it is apparent that the regime would not have allowed for any other result. That is the problem, that is why the government is totalitarian and that is why Obama needs to continue to condemn it.

    Posted by: Jabberwocky | Jun 23, 2009 3:45:19 PM

  2. In all of this my heart breaks for the Iranian people that want and deserve democracy. However, I can't help but think this: What happened here when Bush "won" the election against Gore? It was very apparent that after the votes were re-tallied that Gore was the winner. Many individuals reported electronic voting machines as producing incorrect results when attempting to vote for Gore, and let's not forget that Bush's brother Jeb was governor of Florida during that election or that Bush's own campaign manager Katherine D Harris was the Florida Secretary of State. So much suspect in our OWN elections, and yet where was the world in that debacle? My point, it is interesting to note how totalitarian are own government is to its people and the world, and yet people look to us to help Iran? Sadly, it made me chuckle a bit.

    Posted by: Cj | Jun 23, 2009 4:32:38 PM

  3. jaberwocky

    In fact there is NO evidence that ahmadine-crazy won, would have won, whatever. In fact the few polls there were in the last weeks leading up to the election show Mousavi around 54% and ahmadine-crazy at around 30 some odd%

    What it all looks like is that they never counted the votes at all. Khamenie was/is interested in setting up a dynasty with his son becoming Supreme leader after him. He is supposedly dieing of cancer. Mousavi ,with what little power the president has, being at odds whith Khamenie on many issues was not a sure thing as far as being supportive of the son replacing the father. Ahmadine-crazy as a 100% puppet /lap dog to khamanie and with his revolutionary guard connections would ensure that khamenie's son would succede his father creating a dynasty.



    Gore would have won, BUT there is no comparison between bush , jeb, and rove tweaking FL and the Iranian election where not 1 single vote was ever counted and the result was chosen weeks in advance.

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Jun 23, 2009 6:44:43 PM

  4. "those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history."

    LOL, Nice hypocrisy there buddy!

    Better liar and has better spin-meisters than either Clinton or Bush. It's amazing what money will buy these days.

    Posted by: The Phoenix | Jun 24, 2009 6:08:42 AM

  5. It was a good question from a (supposedly) interesting and (possibly) legitimately Iranian citizen. It's pretty disheartening that in order to get their voice to us, it needs to happen like this. So props to the HuffPo for that, but this probably wasn't the smartest thing for the Obama administration to do right now. Funny to think about Rahm Emmanuel allegedly "grinning" at surprised journos in the first row...

    Posted by: Jim | Jun 24, 2009 3:28:57 PM

  6. I am old enough to remember Eisenhower saying that "people want peace so badly, that nations better step aside to let them have it""... and recall when unarmed students at Kent State, Ohio were shot and killed by the National Guard during a "Peace March"! I remember being taught in school that President's picked the Supreme Court... and not the other way around as in 2000. Sometimes... I believe
    more than civil unrest is needed... if it were not for courageous draft card burners... and draft dodgers of the 60's, the Vietnam war might still be going on. It seems like only yesterday that it took the youth of America to put us on the "green path" to save the environment that
    Rachel Carson warned us about in her book "Silent Spring"in the early 50's. It's never
    too late to speak OUT against unjust wars and denying equal rights under the law to all citizens. However... it will never happen
    if you sit back, and watch other people fight for justice... you must join in now, or pay the consequences... and it's not later than you think... it sooner!

    Posted by: jerry pritikin | Jun 25, 2009 2:29:43 AM

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