After election results in Iran declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner, many in and out of the country were quick to call foul. Protests ensued in the streets of Tehran and around the world.
President Obama has voiced “deep concerns” over accusations of election fraud, but has refused to denounce the election, saying “It is not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling […] in Iranian elections.”
In an open letter to President Obama, Worldfocus contributing blogger Nader Uskowi — a Washington-based Iran analyst and consultant — critiques the president’s approach to Iran.
Dear Mr. President,
I was an early supporter of your presidential campaign throughout the primaries and the general election. Along with hundreds of other supporters in Virginia, I worked tirelessly to deliver the state to you after more than 40 years of Republican presidential victories. I supported your vision of change on domestic and foreign policies, including your call to directly engage the Iranian government to abide by its obligations on the nuclear issue and to halt its support of terrorism.
When confronted with the realities on the ground, any good policy or plan needs and must be revised. Your, and our, Iran policy is being challenged by the current realities in the country. In the past four days, the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad government has disregarded the aspirations of the citizens and their basic rights. The students and the youths of the country are being killed, injured and imprisoned. Iranian citizens are calling for change, inspired to a large degree by the message of hope that you, Mr. President, gave them in your Cairo speech.
There is now a compelling new factor that needs to be added to process of normalization of relations with Iran: the government’s handling of the largest social and political movement in the history of the Islamic Republic. Our government must demand the government in Tehran to guarantee the safety and security of its citizens during their peaceful demonstrations against the outcome of the election.
Normalization of relations with Iran needs to recognize the realities on the ground, which have changed radically in the past few days by a social movement with historic proportions. The normalization process should proceed in a way that will not alienate millions of young citizens whose call for change was inspired by your message of hope. We cannot and should not limit the process to nuclear and terrorism issues. The Iranian people are crying out for change, reminiscent of our days of campaigning here in this country. We must take a moment to remember the broader principles of our democratic society, and support the millions of Iranian citizens that seek to acquire them.
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