The Iranian government seems to be getting more violent in its crack down on those seeking freedom and justice. Many protesters claim that the Iranian government is dumping chemicals on the crowds out of helicopters, causing burns. There have even been reports of tanks on the streets. There have been 19 confirmed killings today, with some claiming that today's death toll in this unrest is as high as 150.
A number of countries have opened up their embassies to provide medical attention to protesters injured in Iran, since apparently they are not even safe in their hospitals from government retaliation. Has the U.S. done this? If not, will we start providing at least basic humanitarian assistance to those being burned, beaten and shot for exercising their natural rights to free assembly and political speech? I encourage your administration to recognize that human rights are not merely a point of rhetoric. Respecting and defending them is a universal obligation. If the United States cannot even bandage those wounded in pursuit of justice, I fear the light that has made us a beacon to the world is growing quite dim. Sincerely,
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 20, 2009
Statement from the President on Iran
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.
As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.