UK Embassy staff members arrested in Iran

Overreach?  Time will tell.

David Milliband,  the foreign secretary, responds:

Miliband, speaking from a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Corfu, said the government was “deeply concerned” at the arrests. “This is harassment and intimidation of a kind that is quite unacceptable,” he said. “We want to see them released unharmed.”

Miliband said he believed nine local staff had been detained, although some had since been released. “We have protested in strong terms, directly to the Iranian authorities, about the arrests that took place yesterday.

But lets get back to more important matters, like what killed Michael Jackson and who will get custody of Blanket.

Jacoby: ‘Democracy’ is a dirty word for Obama

Jeff Jacoby is the lone voice of reason at the Boston Globe.

It’s worth a full read, but here are some snippets:

THE CHOICE presented by the democracy protests in Iran could hardly have been clearer.

So why was President Obama’s response initially so ambivalent? Why was he more interested in preserving “dialogue’’ with Iran’s dictatorial rulers than in providing moral support for their freedom-seeking subjects? Why did it take him until yesterday to declare that Americans are “appalled and outraged’’ by Iran’s crackdown and to “strongly condemn’’ the vicious attacks on peaceful dissenters?

A disconcerting answer to those questions appears in the new issue of Commentary, where Johns Hopkins University scholar Joshua Muravchik isolates the most striking feature of the young Obama administration’s foreign policy: “its indifference to the issues of human rights and democracy.’’

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The rupture was telegraphed at a pre-inauguration meeting with the Washington Post, during which the incoming president argued that “freedom from want and freedom from fear’’ are more urgent than democracy, and that “oftentimes an election can just backfire’’ if corruption isn’t fixed first. Muravchik points out that when Obama gave Al-Arabiya, an Arabic-language satellite channel, his first televised interview as president, he focused on US relations with the Middle East and Muslim world, yet “never mentioned democracy or human rights.’’

In February, Obama traveled to Camp Lejeune, N.C., to announce his timetable for withdrawing US troops from Iraq. His strategic goal, he said, was “an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant.’’ But other than a glancing reference to the successful Iraqi election that had taken place a few weeks earlier, he again had nothing to say about democracy.
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In closing, Jacoby writes:
Obama may see himself as the un-Bush, cool to democracy because his predecessor was so keen for it. But to millions of subjugated human beings, he is the leader of the free world – an avatar of the democratic freedoms they hunger for. On the streets of Iran recently, many protesters held signs reading “Where Is My Vote?’’ There are limits to what the American president can do for Iran’s beleaguered democrats. But is it too much to ask that he take their question seriously?
Judging from what has been revealed today, I dare say it is too much to ask in Obama’s book.

Witness: Protesters beaten like “animals” in Theran

CNN reports:

Security forces wielding clubs and firing weapons beat back demonstrators who flocked to a Tehran square Wednesday to continue protests, two witnesses said.

One witness said security forces beat people like “animals.”

“They were waiting for us,” the source said. “They all have guns and riot uniforms. It was like a mouse trap.

“I see many people with broken arms, legs, heads — blood everywhere — pepper gas like war,” the source said.

Around “500 thugs” with clubs came out of a mosque and attacked people in the square, another source said.

The security forces were “beating women madly” and “killing people like hell,” the source said.

“They beat up a woman so bad she was all bloody,” the source said in a description that underscores the growing and central role of women in the uprising.

Gateway pundit reports three people were shot and one woman was killed and that the police won’t let protesters assist the wounded.

Bastards.

But lets not offend Iran’s leaders by rescinding those BBQ invitations.

UPDATE:  Gibbs: 4th of July BBQ invitations rescinded – according to a tweet from Major Garrett

What took you so long?

After President Obama made a long overdue statement condemning the beating and killing of Iranian protesters, Major Garret asked “What took you so long?” As we have seen time and time again, Obama rewrote history and said he has been clear all on this along and to track what he has been saying.

OK.  Lets do that. (The Wall Street Journal has done the work for me.)

June 15, The Rose Garden: “It is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran’s leaders will be; that we respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran.”

June 16, The Rose Garden: “It’s not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling, the U.S. President meddling in Iranian elections. What I will repeat, and what I said yesterday, is that when I see violence directed at peaceful protestors, when I see peaceful dissent being suppressed, wherever that takes place, it is of concern to me and it’s of concern to the American people. That is not how governments should interact with their people.”

June 16, CNBC: “The difference between [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad and [opposition candidate] Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised. Either way, we’re going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has been hostile to the United States.”

June 19, CBS News interview, White House: What you’re seeing in Iran are hundreds of thousands of people who believe their voices were not heard and who are peacefully protesting and – and seeking justice. And the world is watching. And we stand behind those who are seeking justice in a peaceful way.

June 20, Formal Statement: “The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. 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.”

And that leads us to today’s remarks: 

First, I’d like to say a few words about the situation in Iran. 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.

I’ve made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran and is not interfering with Iran’s affairs.

But we must also bear witness to the courage and the dignity of the Iranian people and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore the violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.

Quite a leap to say he’s been clear all along.  Of course he denies that today’s shift in tone and rhetoric had anything to do with his critics calling his previous remarks weak and timid, but you can be sure he took note.

Canadian Prime Minister issues statement that Obama should have

Obama, please take note.

It’s hard to pick one money quote, but this stood out for me.

“Canada calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately cease the use of violence against their own people, to release all political prisoners and journalists – including Canadians – who have been unjustly detained, to allow Iranian and foreign media to report freely on these historic events, and to conduct a full and transparent investigation into allegations of fraud in the presidential election.  The voices of all Iranians must be heard.  I have directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to ensure that Canada’s views are conveyed to Iran’s top representative in Canada.”

Iranian activist not impressed with Obama’s tepid responnse

Via Gateway Pundit

Remember him?

batebi 3

“His (Obama) lack of response will not be regarded lightly. We will watch for how much his response will help the people or the regime. We will know more this week… Obama can hold talks with the regime in Iran if he wants. Is it morally correct for Obama to support the regime? Does he actually believe the people of Iran will appreciate that? The social movement requires support. If the world really wants the advent of terrorism to disappear in the Middle East, if they want peace with the Palestinians and Israel, if they want nuclear techhology to be developed for peaceful things and not nuclear weapons… They only need to support the people of Iran right now. This regime has the most dangerous of ideologies. They’re killing the opposition.

Protests resume in Iran, police fire tear gas

Despite the warning issued by the Revolutionary Guard, thousands of protesters take to the streets of Tehran.

Iranian riot police have fired tear gas to break up a new opposition rally in the centre of the capital Tehran, hours after a stern warning to protesters.

Some 1,000 protesters had gathered on Haft-e Tir Square despite a warning from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards against holding unapproved rallies.

An unconfirmed report says riot police fired bullets into the air.

The Guards, an elite armed force, vowed to crack down on new street protests over the presidential election results.

On Friday Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned protests, prompting street violence in which at least 10 people died.

Vigil for Neda?

Internet postings on Twitter, Facebook, and an Iranian opposition leader’s Web site mentioned a 4 p.m. (7:30 a.m. ET) vigil for Neda — the young female protester who became a rallying cry and a symbol for the opposition after her death was caught on camera.

It is unclear, however, if the people were at the square for a vigil. Signs and banners about Neda and candles have not been seen.