June 22nd, 2009
01:12 PM ET

Obama to Iran: 'The whole world is watching'

Program Note: For more on President Obama's take on the situation in Iran, tune in to hear political analyst, David Gergen on AC360° tonight 10 P.M. ET .

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/20/iran.obama/art.white.house.afp.gi.jpg caption="Iranian women demonstrate Saturday in front of the White House, where President Obama issued a statement."]


President Obama called Saturday for the Iranian government to refrain from violence and injustice against its own citizens.

"The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching," Obama said in a White House statement. "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."

He said the United States stands with all who seek to exercise what he called the universal rights to assembly and free speech.

The statement came as Iranian security forces cracked down Saturday on demonstrators in Tehran in continuing protests against the outcome of Iran's June 12 election.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets Saturday, even though the demonstrations were banned and police confronted them with clubs, tear gas and water cannons. A threatening statement a day earlier by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had raised fears of bloodshed.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the overwhelming victor in voting that opposition groups called rigged. No independent monitors were permitted for the election, and protests against the outcome grew in succeeding days.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Iran • President Barack Obama
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. payam

    What a shame it is to watch the Americans SUPPORT the invasion of Iraq, all in the name of freedom from terrorism and dictatorship of Sadam’s Regime; but where is the hypocrisy when the people of Iran are shouting and risking their lives in the name of freedom!

    Not even the slightest passion by the man best known as “Change, yes we can.”

    June 23, 2009 at 4:35 am |
  2. Karen

    @Fed Up


    Obama an empty suit? Just look at the media. Empty suits and skirts.


    June 22, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  3. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    Fed Up, You think this is bad? Anderson's FB page has been down since June 17.

    June 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  4. Naz

    I just talked to a friend in Iran and he stated too that things are much worst than what you see on TV. If you cant stomach it on TV you cant even imagine how much worst it is in real life. He said that if you chant from your roof like they are doing at night, the basij will come to your home and take you away or kill you. He also said that there were basij with machetes and they are just hitting young, old, men and women. They didn't care who you are. Obama you stated that the world is watching but my question is... What are you watching Obama and the world? How many other people have to die brutally before the world says anything to support the protestors? How can you deal with such monsters and if you deal with them, can you trust people that brutally kill their own people? What do you think they are going to do to you? There is no way that anyone can count 45 million votes in just three hours. My friend says that its calmed down a little and there arent too many people in the streets right now. They are investigating the results but if this President stays and Mousavi does not get elected the people will probably start again.

    June 22, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  5. thinkerray

    Oooh! Iran is quivering in it's boots. Obama “The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching." Big deal! Do something constructive and intelligent. Lip service at a time like this is admitting leadership failure. It might even be described as presidential voyeurism.

    June 22, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  6. Isabel, Brazil

    For me, the moderate attitude, of the US, advances little: the Iranian government has accused the US of causing the crisis.

    June 22, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  7. Beryl

    Our President is once again doing it right. We need to state our adherence to human rights without interfering with actions outside of our country.

    Also, it is pitiful to read so-called moral people who bash our President. If they were moral, they wouldn't have supported a lie that killed 5000 US troops and a million people in Iraq. These people need to stop holding up their bibles and READ them and obey what is written therein.

    June 22, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  8. Fed Up

    Moderator lazy today!! AC blogs have only 2-3 posts. Most active blogs certainly doesn't apply here!

    June 22, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  9. Michael Cremeens

    Government is the voice and protector of the people it governs, the power it holds is given by the people it governs. When I hear a statement from a regime that threatens the people who oppose the actions of those designed to be their protector and benefactor, when a governing body becomes more important than the body it governs, that regime is seeking power for itself, not for the benefit of the people it governs.

    June 22, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  10. Jax Cruz

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."~Declaration of Independence

    Although my heart breaks watching what is happening, I truly believe that unless change comes from within Iran, nothing America can do will help.Not everyone realizes that freedom to Americans did not come easily.Our History is marked by revolution and it is now up to the people of Iran to use the script written and signed by Americans as their blueprint. Good luck – I await the day that we can live in peace.

    June 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  11. Al

    why Obama supports dictatores around the world and yet crying about Justice and other things? It was just a few weeks ago that Obama met with king Abodullah who is a dictator.Obama is just another hypocrite.

    June 22, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  12. sofia

    What Iranians really want is to be able to take to the streets protest their violated rights in not getting their votes counted and not be attacked by their own government. To protest, speak their mind, criticize their government for its injust to its own ppl and not be prisoned, hanged or b prosecuted for speaking their mind. The people of Iran want the Bill of Rights 2 b respected in iran, they do have it but it is not followed.

    June 22, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  13. Margaret istre

    I'am proud to say that OBAMA is doing the right thing. His call to refrain from violence towards the citizens of Iran is nothing short of a leader who is educated and empathic towards Iran's people. I do fail to agree on all his policies, however Civil Rights , Human Rights & all that surounds it. more of that please...

    June 22, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  14. Brent, San Pedro, CA.

    Regardless of anyone's views on the need for U.S. influence in the protesting, it is plain by the hand gestures in the photo that the British are involved.

    June 22, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  15. Sushil Sawant

    We live in a world today , engulfed with issues and problems , where people are power hungry and governments are money hungry. Iran had the innocent blood of Neda spilled all over it and no matter how holy you think your land. Her spirit has more value than any cleric in Iran and if you question my judgement then how can an ordinary girl of Iran named Neda bring so much courage and strength to the people of IRAN as they say in Iran Ya ALI!

    On behalf of the people of India we mourn the death of NEDA

    June 22, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  16. Amir

    Good job on Iran CNN.

    The Obama administration is doing a great job so far on Iran. It looks like he has some good advisors around him unlike the previous administration.

    I now hear the GOP saying, Obama should be tougher on the Iranian government!!
    The Republicans had eight years to deal with Iran and all their polices were failures. Bush and his advisors were very incompetence with respect to Iran. The GOP should stay quiet, and let the Obama team do their job.

    June 22, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  17. jodi Saenger

    Yesterday, Sunday began the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. This day is also Father's Day in the USA. At the dinner table, I see a father's pride is beaming before her young and beautiful daughter. I turn to to see on television walking arm in arm NEDA and her proud Father moments before she was gunned down to her death. This will remain a fixed moment in time I will never forget.

    June 22, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  18. Fed Up

    Blah, Blah, Blah..............more empty words from the empty suit Obama.

    June 22, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  19. Mike in NYC

    This Green thing has something in it for American idiots of every stripe, whether they be GOP patriotards desperately using it to rally their base because they're shooting blanks on pretty much everything else, or Obamabots who can't wait to notch the Great One's belt with a bold stroke for "freedom."

    Joe G. has a point in that liberals don't realize or won't admit that most of the world doesn't share their modernist outlook. That includes most Iranians.

    I'm of the opinion that, despite some electoral fraud - of which many nations are occasionally guilty - the A-man really did win this one, and by a substantial margin.

    June 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  20. Melissa

    Joe, stop twisting the truth just to serve your rightwing Republican twisted views. Your views do not reflect anything to do with reality.

    I'm with Anthony on this one. He's right.

    June 22, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  21. earle,florida

    Who really cares if the whole world is watching! America is at 10% plus unemployment,50 million plus uninsured.The average american has just lost his entire life's (net value/home equity,401k,mutual funds,etc.) savings by at least 40%. The government is broke,and China is considering," not to buy our debt",unless we get our financial house in order. Iraq is starting to flare up again,and Afghanistan is becoming a Viet Nam! Every single american is being asked to take a pay cut,or in some cases, "work for free",just to stay employed. Now,weve got North Korea threatening us,and you say the whole world is watching Iran?I don't care what they do,and if the Iranian people living throughout the want results,I suggest getting on an airplane,and going back home where they belong ,and fight the good fight that is theirs to deal with! We cannot remain the world's police,without becoming vulnerable to unforeseen events,may God forbid,... This how I feel,and make no apologies!!!

    June 22, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  22. Paul Ernest Show

    What is happening in Iran is typical of what has been happening in many third world countries. Third world nations have created their own unique form of government called "Selectcrazy. Leaders are selected by some few powerful men and women, regardless of the election results, who cannot deliver, but become mere puppets for these shady individuals. If democrazy must endure, western nations should be more forceful in demanding fair elections.

    June 22, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  23. Mary

    To Joe G. from IL,

    Obama is pro-choice, apparently you never heard him say this and he's all for family, where do you get your information? Fox?

    June 22, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  24. Kris Ahlman

    Don't meddle??? I wonder if your tune would change if Human Rights were being toosed aside in oh...maybe Mexico?!?! Think about it GOMEZ

    June 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  25. John Fullerton

    Too much attention is being played on this Iranian "uprsising" No matter what the ned result is, iran is and will be an enemy to The West. They are fanatical and nothing will change!

    June 22, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  26. Pat R

    David Gergen said "Diplomats credited Obama with having avoided giving the regime an excuse to blame the turmoil on the Americans."

    Thank you, Mr. President, for your restraint and thank you Mr. Gergen for understanding the great impact of that restraint. Watchdog, in-your-face wisdom is rarely welcomed – but quiet, consistent support of freedom, democracy, and an extended hand is rarely unwelcomed. We finally have a President who is humble enough to know he doesn't own the world, and his way isn't the only way.

    I really like this guy! Actually, both guys – Obama & Gergen!

    June 22, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  27. Anthony O. Gomez

    Let the world watch and the United States must not interfere we have enough problems of our own here and quit meddling in other country affairs we are already deeply involved in the Iraq and Afghanastan wars which is really not our problem or concern let other countries foot the bill and get involved our government needs to start assisting and doing lot more with our own. I'm tired of Big Brother(USA) getting involved in other country affairs.

    June 22, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  28. Joe G. (Illinois)

    People from Iran supplicating Obama for American style rights. But don’t they know that Obama is the key figure for Pro Abortion and the perversion/abomination of marriage and family morals? Is that what the Iranians really want? Are those the Civil Rights they are all over the news for?

    June 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm |