Finally, Obama has realized the errors in his ways and has come out with criticism of Iran. (See the White House website for the transcript: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/The-Presidents-Opening-Remarks-on-Iran-with-Persian-Translation/). The majority of what he said was strong and appropriate.
He began with a strong criticism of the harsh, repressive actions the Iranian government has been taking to quell the growing revolution. He stated, “The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost.” This, of course, was the easy part. Any sane person should easily be appalled by the tyranny of the Iranian regime. However, given his track record thus far, Obama should be commended for speaking out.
Obama also correctly emphasized that Ahmadinejad’s attempted ploys at blaming the West for the reformist uprisings are subterfuge and an attempt to direct the Iranian energy to a supposed foreign foe. As mentioned in a prior post (See here: http://anewrepublican.blogspot.com/2009/06/iran-and-ahmadinejad-are-stumbling.html), this is a prime strategy that the Iranian despot could use to diminish reformist momentum. If successful, such a strategy would portray the revolution not as an internal movement, but as a foreign dictated coup attempt. Obama was right-on in stressing that this was not the case.
Obama also spoke to the Iranian people’s right to have their votes counted and voices heard. He criticized Iran’s oppression and correctly pointed out that repressive actions will stand on the wrong side of history. Unfortunately, Obama did not go far enough in criticizing the sham of an election. While he voiced opposition to Iran’s method of dealing with revolution and voiced support for the general notions of freedom and democracy, he was silent on the real-world issues that started the revolution.
Furthermore, Obama offered no concrete discussion on what can and should be done. While apparently somewhat folding under Republican pressure (and common sense), Obama still seems to be covering his bases by leaving open a path to cordial relations with the Iranian leadership. As expressed earlier, Obama should have made concrete statements regarding the wrongness of the electoral fraud and pushed for actions that would right these wrongs.
While he did not go far enough, at least he is headed in the right direction. Most likely this is because he realizing the error in his ways. Unfortunately, it has thus far been too little, too late. But with Obama baby-steps seem to be the way to go. It is not too late to salvage his Carter-esque foreign policy. Hopefully, he will wise up quickly.