June 20th, 2009
10:29 AM ET

Amanpour Analysis: Iranian leader's ultimatum to protesters

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Christiane Amanpour | BIO
CNN International Correspondent

Iran's supreme leader delivered an impassioned defense of the Islamic Republic on Friday, insisting a majority of Iranians had faith in the existing establishment and issuing a "religious ultimatum" to protesters to end days of street demonstrations triggered by last week's presidential election.

Addressing a large crowd at Tehran University, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the historic voter turnout of 85 percent legitimized the Islamic system and had been a clear demonstration of the Iranian people's trust in the regime.

He rejected suggestions that fraud or cheating had been involved in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election, pointing out that the 11-million vote difference between Ahmadinejad and his principal opponent, Mir Hossein Moussavi, was too large to have been manipulated by vote-rigging.

Khamenei then directly addressed the people on the streets, telling them it was time to end their protests and pursue their grievances through the Guardian Council, which has already said it will recount some of the votes.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Christiane Amanpour • Iran
June 20th, 2009
07:46 AM ET

Dear President Obama # 152: Thanks for the lovely dinner

Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama told jokes last night at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner. I sat about six tables away and laughed. Now, however, we return to our previous roles: I write a letter a day to the White House, and possibly he reads them.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Nice job at the dinner last night. Some good lines, hearty laughs. Can’t ask for much more at that type of event, and heaven knows I’ve been to plenty.

I don’t know if you noticed, but I arrived quite late. I thought I saw you looking my way, and kind of nodding. I was tied up in the studio working on a report about North Korea and frankly had about decided that I wasn’t even coming, when I received an e-mail from a colleague urging me to still try. So I changed into my tux and raced over, and ended up hitting the room just five minutes or so before you were introduced.

Several of your pals were seated fairly close to me. Notably, Attorney General Eric Holder (did you know that his middle name is Himpton?); and your big advisor, David Axelrod, whom I saw at the party afterward looking pretty sweaty. Of course, the room was packed, hot, he was climbing a flight of stairs, and Ed Henry was lurking nearby so I guess that’s to be expected.

In one sense I enjoy events like this, but in another I really don’t. It’s fun catching up with a lot of old friends from the business, seeing who is where and what they are up to now. But invariably it is also pretty noisy and crowded and I wind up envying whomever the president is at the time; not because you get to be leader of the free world (although I’m sure that’s cool) but because you get to tell a few jokes, shake a few hands, then sail away like a cool breeze over the Potomac. Heck, you don’t even have to worry about parking!