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September 18, 2009
Harsh words from Iranian president as protesters rally

There have been mixed signals coming from Iran. The country is prepared for new talks on its nuclear program with the United States and other world powers. The Obama administration has given Iran until the end of this month to respond to its overtures.

But on Friday, at an annual political event known as Quds Day to show solidarity with the Palestinian cause, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made some harsh comments about Israel and the West, calling the Holocaust “a lie.”

The event brought out tens of thousands of demonstrators for — and against — the government.

Do you think the Obama administration is making a mistake by engaging Ahmadinejad?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please remember to be respectful and on-point in your comments. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted and repeat offenders will be banned.

Ervand Abrahamian, a distinguished professor of history at the City University of New York, joins Daljit Dhaliwal to discuss the state of the protest movement in Iran and talks about the country’s nuclear program.

For more, view our Voices of Iran extended coverage page and listen to our online radio show on Baha’i faith and modern Iran.

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Comments

42 comments

#42

Ahmadinejad is a provocateur. He deliberately distorts history to provoke. He has also proven himself to a tin-pot dictator. He has united the opposition in Iran by harshly trying to crush demonstrators. I believe he come to an unfortunate end.

#41

For all the Magnificent Intelligence
we see being Brought Together As One

we still see Crumbled Houses
fallen or falling into
States Of Disrepair
and Children As Orphans
On Earth
without a Bath

starvation, while Blue Clouds
drift across Tables
of fine Religious Elements
and Political
Tea-Of-Society-As-It-Is
and
Crumpets-Which-Continue-To-Feed-
The-Moral-Miseries-
Of-World-Societies-
Everywhere-As-They-Have-Yet-
To-Become-
After-Thousands-Of-Years.

So…

For
All This “Intelligence”
and
“Much More”…

I will continue to Inquire:

Who can observe the Shadows on the Sundial
of Existence retrace their Steps?

Who can hold the Sun in a Defined Place
while the Battles are fought and won?

Does the holding of the Sun create
a Something Other
within the Natural Flow of the Days and Nights
which will eventually disturb our Limited Conceptions of Time and Space?

(Inquired…from an Inner Cosmic Point Of View.)

Who can utter a Representation
of the Last Number
from out of All Possible Numerations?

Who can speak the Name of the Most Distant
Star in the Furthest Galaxy
from the Earth…
in this Universe?

Who can, truly, Judge
Job’s Conception
of God…
when the Elements–
which will be
forever obeying
the Powers of the Whirlwind
when It comes to
meet Mortals
where they are
on Earth…
do, in Infinite Ways
–Speak?

#40

To the Moderator – this is a personal message to you.

You don’t have to worry about banning my comments, I will refrain from commenting here on my own.

I don’t understand how you refuse to post a comment that I made. It was not to be construed as malicious or offensive, it was just a comment. I made the comments that I did because, if you look at the facts, most Americans, if you give them a world map and ask them to point out Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, North America, South America, they can’t. In fact, I chuckled the other day when a guy from the U.S. Virgin Islands killed a police officer, that a poster said, “deport him.” There are some people here in the U.S. that don’t know that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.
We know from the war, most people don’t know the difference between Shia & Sunni. I was in a book store last year and mentioned to a clerk, “the African nation of Libya.” The clerk looked at me with doubt and said sarcastically as if I were wrong, “African nation?”
That is the reason why I tried to describe or explain that Iranians (Persians) are White, but so are Egyptians and Tunisians and Greeks. Most people here in the U.S. would beg to differ. And for a poster to say as a matter of fact that Iran is the creator of Al-Qaeda, that is wrong and not true. I tried to give him the facts in the comments you did not post.

So, yes, I am confused, because comments that, to me, appear to bash the POTUS, Iranians, and Palestinians are left up. Personally, if this is what I wanted to read, I could go to Fox or some of the other right-wing sites. So, I am guessing, what is offensive to you. I could be wrong, but, that is what I am thinking.

I was a long-time viewer of World Focus. It was one of my favorite programs. But with this, maybe it’s time for me to move on.

Thanks for reading my comments.

#39

Not to make your blood boil, but, did you know that with the census in the U.S., Iranians are classified as “white?”

Because this country has an issue with race, and more concerned about Black, Hispanic, mainly Black, Iranians were forced to check the box for White.

If you try to look up Indo-European, it is not a race. Persians (Iranians) are not “Arabs,” they are Mongolian, Turkish, Greek…….
I’ll leave it at that and let you do your research.

BTW, look up Mr. Saed (name is spelled variously – Sayyid, Sayed, Syed, Qytub, Qutb…) 1906-1966, this is the first person who allegedly believed in “radical islam.” Mr. Qytub, was the one who didn’t like “American values.” And yes, Mr. Qytub came to the U.S. to study before going back to Egypt.

#38

Why gee, I guess I have been misinformed. I could have sworn that Al-Qaeda was formed after the Muslim Brotherhood was allegedly dismantled by the Egyptians. Hint: prisoners in Egypt and a Mr. Said Q.

I guess while we are talking about prisoners, there’s no mention of Givon or Ramle Jail (prison), Ofer Military Base….

It’s easy to point the finger, make accusations….

#37

People tend forget Iran is the leader in world terrorism. It has spent billions in its wars of terror. Iran is responsible for hundreds of American lives in Iraq and ever increasing Afghanistan. In 2008 , Ahmandinejah missed placed 35 billion dollars in oil revenues, more likely than not went for war efforts , building Hamas, Hezbollah even Syrian Forces.. The current Iranian Government has refused to allow full IAEA inspections, has spent several billion dollars on nuclear missile delivery systems. The procurement of the Kh- 55 nuclear capable cruise missile from Ukraine to purchasing the B-25 nuclear capable missile from North Korea. Many people fail to recognize it was the late Ayatollah Khomeini who set the world on fire with his cult of the Islamic Suicide Bomber. Bin Laden & Al Qaeda adopted this belief in the 1990’s while in Sudan at Iranian Revolutionary Guard training Camps. There were no Islamic Suicide bombers in the Soviet –Afghan war, nor were there any in Israel until 1994 introduced by Iranian backed Hamas.
Obama by working – accepting this hateful –war Theocracy, pushes away the possibility of real change in Iran, and allows Ayatollah Khamenei along with Ahmadinejad, to imprison, and kill those who would bring about a real change in Iran. Obama is supporting this Iranian government to continue its wars of terror.

#36

Hello Sangi,

The point I was making when I say our house is in shambles; this country is truly divided right now.
No matter what our president attempts to do, even if it’s in our best interests, you have people attempting to undermine him. Example, although many people believe that our former president was not rightfully the president, no one treated him as bad. For one, although many people did not believe in the war, there was not one military person saying they would not go to war because he wasn’t a legitimate president. On the other hand, you had people that would not go to war because they did not believe it was a ‘moral’ war.

We did not have people showing up at protests with guns, demeaning the prez (and other cultures) about a religion and/or ethnic background.

Because our country is in bad financial condition, now everyone wants to blame the new administration and attempting to stop anything that could put this country back on the right path.

Now, I highly agree that there should be talks. I disagree that we should attempt to remove Iran’s leader or go to war with that country.

You may not agree with me on this, but, I like listening to Mr. Trita Parsi. I think he is an excellent communicator. (I know he was educated in Switzerland, and has a doctorate degree). Well, sometimes you can learn something from someone from the country you are trying to understand.

As far as human rights/civil rights, we have issues in this country – race relations. No matter what blacks do, they will always be looked down on, treated badly, and hated because of their skin color.

#35

anjell, while i understand what you mean, i disagree. just because our house is in shambles should be NO excuse to do what we must in foreign policy. the metaphor or OUR hous eand THEIR HOUSE is NO LONGER TRUE. we LIVE in ONE house with many rooms, this house is planet earth.

#34

Weekly, your argument is a dangerous capitulation to ethical relativism. So basically, you’re saying if one culture says it’s ok to beat up your wife senseless everynight, it is OK, because we would otherwise be imposing OUR culture. Well, sorry, there is such a thing as a universal declaration of human rights and international civil rights covenants, that means countries HAVE established standards and CAN and MUST hold each other accountable. According to YOUR statement, ANYTHING is allowed in the name of culture, including torture of “enemy combattants?” ;-) You catch my drift. That argument is old, tired, and untenable. If countries wanna be a part of global institutions they MUST play by global rules. Same applies to individual citizens of a country. Saying I am an old school religion xyz believer and my faith tells me i can abuse my child, AINT GONNA FLY.

#33

It depends on what is meant by “engage”. If the crowds marching under the opposition’s green banner at the annual “Hate Israel” day parade are any indication, there is a sizeable portion of Iran that considers the present regime (religious as well as civic) illegitamate. Most probably and ominously this is why this regime is beginning to sound like their predecessors in 1940s Germany. I wonder how long it will be before the few remaining Jews in Iran start paying for their steadfastness in not emigrating like the rest of them. Yes,have a dialogue with this hate monger and his religious fanatic friends but expect little in the way of true resolution of these problems. The average Iranian will still have his daily power failures, crumbling infrastructure, and an incredible brain drain, in an oil rich country. Why is a country that is so blessed with oil wealth so dependent upon external sources for its gasoline, kerosene and other refined petroleum products? Could not the billions the regime is pouring into the development of their nuclear option be better spent on gasoline and kerosene refineries? Are they afraid that the hundreds of thousands of young people who are currently unemployed or members of the revolutionary guard might think that refining oil into gasoline and kerosene for transportation, heating and cooking a far better way to help themselves and their country men? Its so sad to watch the leaders of a proud people with thousands of years of a rich cultural and historical legacy march them off to the nuclear nirvana. So by all means “engage” Mr. Ahmadinejad; but expect no marriage to result from this engagement.
Cole Conroy

#32

I believe the president is on the right track, provided he uses his own conscience rather than the dictates of AIPAC.
And to derrick; what is hurting you?

#31

I believe it is critical that President Obama engage in dialogue with Iran and the Iranian president. Dialogue is the only effective means of removing any mis-trusts and issues that countries have with one another; this is called diplomacy 101. For over 30 years our government has isolated Iran diplomatically and economically. We have imposed illegal sanctions on that country simply because we don’t like their form of government, and because we aim at denying them their right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferatin Treaty. The world has changed and we can no longer bully countries in accepting our dictates. Iran is neither a threat to the U.S.,Israel, its neighbours or any nation. This notion is as ridiculous as it gets. I would expect that President Obama as a great statement engage in direct dialogue with no preconditions. I am confident that if the U.S. for once shows respect and a genuine desire to engage in solving conflicts the other side will welcome this new approach;after all this is why we voted for President Obama.

#30

As far Afghanistan we should butt out of the elections – if I am correct it was the EU that noted issues with the electoral process they should be the ones making the demands. As far as Obama having discussions with Iran – We should have had dialogue with them all the way along as well as with Cuba. But we should make it clear to the Iranian Dude that it would be on the same level as a Western country. One thing we (and European Countries as well) need to do is stop trying to push our brand of government, culture and religious concepts on Arab countries. While I don’t at agree with Islamic Law and Culture – if thats what they want them let them have it and the down side of it as well – we need to stop playing policeman and world bank. JW @ USA

#29

Sangi, I agree with your comments. However, we must also admit there were numerous problems with our own election in 2000 as well as in 2004. There were allegations of votes not being counted, rigged voting machines, people not being allowed to vote. Not once did I go out and protest against the war, although I did not agree with going to war. Not once did I say anything against the last president like what’s being said against our new president.

IMHO, a country that doesn’t respect their leaders can open the door to other countries not having any respect for our leaders.

This is not the time to have worldwide television coverage of hostile and disrespectful protests in our own country, and at the same time attempt to try to tell other countries what to do. In a nutshell, our own house is in shambles, we need to get our house in order first.

#28

I agree wholeheartedly with # 16. I also think there are many things behind the scenes which we must admit we do not know nor understand, so it is easy to sit in our couches and criticize a President, any President, Bush, Clinton, or Obama.

I think Pres Obama is very nicely pulling the rug, from underneath the coup regime in Iran; by denying them the excuse to portray the USA as the enemy of Iran.

#27

Am I mistaken, or does it depend on what type of disrespectful comments you make that can appear on these posts.

Example, “Obama is foreign born, and needs to be deported.”

I am so sure! As far as I know, when you become vengeful, the violence never ends. Maybe this is the reality of this country, filled with hatred and violence, lack of sympathy and empathy.

#26

Yes this is the best option for the US and president Obama, and he know it well. There’re no other rational or practical options left for the West but to accept Iran’s full legitimacy. That means the West has to accept Iran as is. You cannot dictate your cultural & political views to Iran; you most certainly cannot go into war with Iran, since you’ll be defeated. Sanctions don’t work, since the only way that you can make them real is accepting an explosive confrontation with Iran, and that means War. So it’s a non-starter. The only option left is what President Obama, painstakingly is accepting.

#25

Obama is definitely not making a mistake in Iran, but he still has all the details wrong. Iran is not, and never will be, a threat to the U.S. or to world peace. The biggest threat to world peace comes from Israel, which has lots of nuclear missiles. The UN report was not one-sided in favor of Hamas, but in favor of Israel. Unless Obama is willing to threaten Israel with cutting off all foreign unless it removes every Jewish settler and military personnel from every inch of territory it conquered in 1967, there never will be peace in the Middle East and even beyond that area. It is the U.S., not Iran, which must “unclinch its fist.”

#24

As I see it, some in America feel like they haven’t had a President who was successful at using diplomatic dialogue. The problem is that these American’s are too focused on that issue and seem to be overlooking the larger issue which is that Iran is only interested in things like wiping Israel off the map. They have no desire to discuss opposition to their way of thinking. Western thinking is radically different than Eastern thinking. The two can talk but it’s difficult to reach a consensus when your ideals are polar extremes.

#23

Communication has been and always will be the most productive path to the establishment of long term agreements between people. Those who fail to communicate are condemned to follow the path to aggression and violence.

#22

The Bible states there will be no peace on earth until our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ returns. Obama is not our savior, I fear he is making some serious mistakes.

#21

Of course not, if only by virtue of the lack of any progress under Bush’s policy of non-dialogue. Diplomacy does not necessarily mean naivety, or weakness. It can, and often has, led to a broadening of mutual respect and a tendency toward a greater capacity, on all sides, of civilized behavior. What is that most paramount of Christian tenets…”Do unto others……”

#20

obmama needs to go to iran bow down and kiss their feet then return promising “PEACE IN OUR TIME”
OBAMA IS NOT NATURAL BORN > HE NEEDS TO BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE AND DEPORTED

#19

Talk yes, but not on the Iranian’s agenda since they most of the time twist or never tell the truth. Be forceful and not liberal. Know the truth!

#18

It’s very silly to pose this question to viewers. It feels like insulting intelligence of average viewers. When you see America-hating dictator, Putin, giving a big praise, you know something is wrong. I hope President Obama didn’t make a serious mistake by flip-flopping a major foreign policy of America. There is no difference between
Ahmadinejad and Hitler. You simply don’t yield to these dictators.

#17

My first comment is not to be disrespectful towards the moderators. Usually, if I don’t like a section to comment on, I refrain. Personally, I think the first comment “don’t trust any Iranians,” can be considered discriminatory. Here’s why, it is singling out a group of people. Would it be fair to say, “don’t trust any Indians, Blacks, Jews, Latinos…”

I think that talking is the right step. It may or may not solve anything. However, trying to talk and work out differences is preferred over violence and war.

#16

I agree that President Obama is doing the right thing, and should continue to try constructive dialogue with Iran. A negative approach will accomplish nothing.

#15

I strongly believe that Obama is making a huge mistake by engaging an illegitimate government. The whole world saw the reports that came out of Iran after the rigged election. Ahmadinejad and his selective gang of revolutionary guards committed a coup and hijacked the election. Obama’s administration should put human rights and democracy before any talk. The kleptocratic regime that reigns Iran is not elected by the people of Iran. Obama’s administration should not negotiate with a puppet named Ahmadinejad who has cause great killed many innocent citizens while claiming that the protesters were nothing but dust and trash.

#14

Yes I do believe that he needs to keep an open dialogue with Iran. That doesn’t mean accepting human rights abuses in Tehran OR by the Bush administration. Most important, if Obama wants to pursue good relations with the people of Iran, he needs to stop military aid to Israel until Israel starts to respect international law in relation to the Palestinians. The recent UN report is a place to start. Opposing Jewish settlements isn’t enough. There must be real movement towards a just two state solution in Israel/Palestine. PS I am Jewish living in US.

#13

Yes, Obama is wise to engage Iran. Iran has made several overtures to the U.S., but Bush, doing Israel’s bidding, ignored them and got nowhere. So a new approach is in order. We should not let Israel’s agenda deter us from pursuing our own best interests.

#12

President OBAMA is Doing The right Thing , Dismissing Fear And Dialoging With Thoes who have been non responsible for their behavior .

OBAMA Is An Educator and its been a long time comming…..TEACH PEACE !!!
Thank you PRESIDENT OBAMA !!!

#11

For the President to engage Iranian leaders while they are so hostile to the West would not be productive. They have had plenty of opportunities to show their willingness to negotiate, and have not done so.

#10

Yes, president Obama is doing the right thing. Talk to Ahmadinejad.Make him an offer he can’t refuse,Israel gives up it’s nuclear weapons and Iran stops it’s nuclear weapons development.A middle east nuclear weapons free.What a legacy for this president

#9

Iran’s Pres. wants to wipe Israel off the map and Pres. Obama said it’s ok that Iran builds a nuclear program as long as it doesn’t make missiles. Incredible.

#8

i also believe President Obama is doing the right thing. Besides that the technolgy is outdated and would not do what it was suppose to do. Talk gets more accomplished than being a bully.

#7

It’s about time we try talking instead of war. How long does it take for us to realize this? Yes, he is doing the right thing.

#6

Hint: Think Venezuela among Others.

#5

Further Adjustments To The Prevous Text (#3):

…what is but
Intricate
Part-Of-What-
Any-Overtures-
To-Tactical-Diplomacies-
Must-”Negotiate” …

…Involved-In-The-Proper-Resolutions
of …

#4

Adjustment(s) To The Previous Text: (#3):

Will not…”Presence”
–in many “Coordinated Places”–
when Studies…across:
The-Landscapes-Of-
(and:
The-Necessities-For)
Military-Maps

…(will) Reveal:

#3

Will not…”Presence”
–in many “Coordinated Places”–
when Studies…across:
The-Landscapes-Of-
(and:
The-Necessities-For)
Military-Maps

…will Reveal:

…what is but
Intricate
Part-Of-What-
Any-Overtures-
To-Tactical-Diplomacies-
Which-Must-“Negotiate”
(…as to: multi-leveled)
“Qualities-Of-Terrain”
using all along:
The-Legends-of Such-Maps-
Which-Are-Denoting-
The-Intrinsic-And-Extrinsic-Utilities-
Of-The-Symbols-
Involved-In-The-The-Proper-Resolutions
of
The-Appropriate-Grids-Coordinating-
The-Letters-With-The-Minutes-And-Hours-
Involving-Times-
As-They-Are-Perceived-On-Maps?

#2

Yes, President Obama is doing the right thing. Talking never hurts. Something Conservatives wouldn’t know, since they never have anything constructive to say on any issue.

#1

dont trust any iranians

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