Monday, December 28, 2009

Thoughts on President Obama's Statement on Iran

This afternoon, President Obama took a pause from his vacation to address the attempted terrorist attack aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day. He also briefly spoke about the political violence in Iran. I will focus my comments on his remarks concerning Iran.

While President Obama condemned the "violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens" he made other statements that were less than confidence inspiring:

Along with all free nations the United States stands with those who seek their universal rights. We call upon the Iranian government to abide by the international obligations that it has to respect the rights of its own people. We call for the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained within Iran. We will continue to bear witness to the extraordinary events that are taking place there. And I'm confident that history will be on the side of those who seek justice.

Calling on Iran to abide by international obligations and call upon it to release those unjustly detained are all well and good. While he's at it why not call upon the Iranians to release those American hikers who Iran is putting on trial for espionage?

But the Obama Administration needs to do more than "continue to bear witness to the extraordinary events that are taking place there." All that means is that we continue to bear witness to the Iranian regime killing more of its own. That's not good enough.

President Obama needs to announce that engagement with Iran is over. The time has now come for regime change. Meaningful sanctions would be a first step in that direction. We'll see what comes of that in the new year.

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