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Archive for Saturday, June 20, 2009

U.S. officially condemns crackdown

June 20, 2009

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— The Obama administration on Friday stuck to a measured response to the uprising in Iran over a disputed presidential election, even as both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly to condemn an official crackdown on mostly peaceful demonstrations in the streets of Tehran.

Administration officials said they remained convinced that the wiser U.S. course was caution over confrontation. President Barack Obama is coming under growing domestic political pressure to speak out more forcefully in support of protesters warned by Iran’s supreme leader Friday to end their huge street rallies.

In the strongest message yet from the U.S. government, the House voted 405-1 to condemn Tehran’s crackdown on protest rallies and the government’s interference with Internet and cell phone communications. The Senate followed suit.

Obama’s chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said the White House welcomed the resolution, calling its language consistent with the president’s.

“As the president has said, we’re not going to be used as political foils and political footballs in a debate that’s happening by Iranians in Iran,” Gibbs said. He said the administration’s view is that Iranian leaders would use fiercer U.S. support for the protesters to paint them as puppets of the Americans.

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